The United States Supreme Court officially announced that it has no intention of reconsidering the life sentence or conviction of Ross Ulbricht, the founder of Silk Road, a notorious darknet site.
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.
Ulbricht was initially arrested in October 2013 in San Francisco. During the trial, the prosecutors outlined that at that moment, Ulbricht was conversing with undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation agents while operating the darknet site under the alias “Dread Pirate Roberts.”
Authorities collected evidence from his computer which included chat logs, spreadsheets and journal entries relating to the financial data of Silk Road between 2011 and 2013.
However, the suspect’s defense team maintained that Ulbricht was not the person the prosecution was after.
In their defense, they argued that although Ulbricht was the creator of the famed site, he, however, established it as an “economic experiment” and later handed it out to another party.
The defense team further outlined that the real criminal was on the loose and that Ulbricht was just a scapegoat.
Despite the valiant efforts by the defense team, the Jury was ultimately not convinced. The court found him guilty on multiple charges including operating a criminal enterprise, money laundering, computer hacking, and narcotics-trafficking conspiracy. He was handed a sentence of lifetime imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Ulbricht’s counsel subsequently filed an appeal of this life sentence, although it was unfortunately rejected in 2017.
Again, Ulbricht made another attempt last December before the U.S. Supreme Court alleging a violation of both his sixth and fourth amendment rights.
In that plea, Ulbricht argued that the authorities had gathered internet traffic data devoid of warrants during the time of the investigations.
Moreover, he also stated that the presiding judge at the time had also enforced an irrational sentence based partly on the claims that Ross had allegedly attempted to hire a hitman—an offense for which he was never charged or convicted of.
Ulbricht’s latest attempt to bring back his case back to the Court had received a lot of support from various organizations including the Reason Foundation, the National Lawyers Guild, and the Gun Owners of America.
On hearing the recently concluded case that involved location data obtained and stored by phone providers, the same Supreme Court made a ruling that the fourth amendment offers individuals “genuine belief of privacy,” particularly regarding their personal data even if they offer it voluntarily to third parties.
This ruling had many of Ulbricht’s supporters convinced that the Supreme Court would at least be willing to somehow consider Ross’s version of the story, although it seems that this optimism has been conclusively dashed and the initial life imprisonment sentence is still on.
The Silk Road saga is still ongoing. In fact, Roger Clark, the alleged right-hand man to Ulbricht, has been extradited from Thailand and is expected to face a federal court back in the U.S. for his alleged involvement in the market.
Additionally, the fight against darknet markets is still ongoing on other fronts. Just recently the Department of Justice, in the first-ever nationwide undercover operation targeting darknet suspects, arrested 35 vendors and subsequently seized $20 million worth of digital currency.
What’s more, they also collected $3.6 million in gold bars and dollars, firearms and significant amounts of illegal narcotics.
Federal authorities remain relentless with Homeland Security Investigations emphasizing that no criminal is out of reach of the law.