Family members of Ross Ulbricht, founder of the notorious Silk Road darknet market, tried to visit their beloved family member in the early days of July at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in New York.
Unfortunately, they could not find him at his assigned correctional facility. Instead, the family learned that the authorities decided to transfer him to another location.
ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road is BACK ONLINE NOW as Silk Road 3.1 and open for business. The team did a change and upgrade for a reason we can only assume for security.
In response to this disturbing development, the family took to Twitter to inform the public of what they had just discovered.
They did so through the hashtag #FreeRoss. Ulbricht contacted them the following day informing them about the transfer. The family also tweeted about this development.
The family members have expressed a great deal of concern over the correctional facility that would house Ulbricht.
They feel that it might be hostile to him. For example, the July 6 tweet suggested that Ulbricht deserves a prison that has a safe and secure backyard.
Ross Ulbricht’s Vision & Philosophy
Ulbricht, a Penn State University graduate, wanted to build a dark web site using Bitcoin and Tor.
Tor would help him hide his IP while Bitcoin would help him hide the connection between his identity and his online wallet. He thought that this kind of anonymity would help him evade enforcement officers.
In 2010, Ulbricht embarked on his dream. More specifically, he started building the dark web market called Silk Road, where he would use Dread Pirate Roberts as his login name.
As indicated in his diaries, he wanted to turn 2011 into “a year of prosperity” through this Silk Road venture.
On his profile description for his LinkedIn page, Ulbricht hinted that he envisioned the world as a place that should operate without coercion or aggression.
Silk Road’s End
In October of 2013, Ulbricht was arrested in connection with the darknet marketplace he had built.
An IRS investigator, Gary Alford, first suspected that Ulbricht was in fact running Silk Road under the Dread Pirate Roberts screenname.
Alford’s suspicions started in mid-2013 when he was working with the DEA on the Silk Road case.
Upon his arrest, Ross was charged with money laundering, computer hacking, procuring hitmen for murder and conspiracy to traffic narcotics.
Those who used his website accessed it via the Tor browser, after which they could buy anything, from jewelry to raw milk to narcotics. Then they would pay for these products using Bitcoins.
After his arrest, the Silk Road founder was put on trial where he would respond to all of these charges except the one for murder.
The prosecutor removed the murder charge but the people who procured various products from his site did not commit any murder with the goods they bought.
In May 2015, Ulbricht was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Post-Arrest Events & Subsequent Trial
Early in 2016, Ulbricht’s lawyers submitted an appeal claiming that the DEA’s evidence of the Silk Road investigation was illegally withheld by the prosecutor.
And in October 2016, there was an oral hearing of the appeal.
But in May of this year, the Court of Appeals ended up denying the appeal, confirming the judgment of life imprisonment.
However, Ulbricht argued that he was wrongly convicted and that the district court that arrested him violated the Fourth Amendment, which protects victims against unreasonable searches and seizures.
He claims he was denied the motion to suppress evidence. He also claims that he was deprived of the right to fair trial.
Ulbricht started his life imprisonment at the MCC in New York, but as of July 2017, he was moved to another location.
Dread Pirate Roberts’ Life in Prison
Before Ulbricht was moved to an unknown correctional center early in July, reports from his family members indicated that the Silk Road founder had learned how to adapt to prison life.
Lyn Ulbricht, Ross’s mother, campaigned for her son’s release by telling the story of how he planted a seed in one corner of his cell and then used damp towel to support it until it sprouted.
Unfortunately, it was taken away by a prison guard and placed on the counselor’s desk.
Ulbricht’s Life Before Prison
Before he was nabbed, Ulbricht used to travel the world visiting some of the most beautiful beaches and engaging in surfing.
The drug kingpin and dark web mastermind looked like any other regular tourist. You would not have imagined him to be the Dread Pirate Roberts.
However, when he was not in the water surfing, he would be busy using his hotel room’s free Wi-Fi to manage his dark web site.
Conviction Actually Feeds Darknet Market Trends
Though the Silk Road kingpin was seized by law enforcement, drug trafficking has not stopped.
In fact, illegal trade on the dark web has seen an increase in sales after the news came that Ulbricht was sentenced to life imprisonment.
From such results, one can only conclude that the media coverage of Ross Ulbricht and Silk Road only publicized his works.