Silk Road Federal Criminal Trial Begins

Silk Road Owner’s Federal Criminal Trial for Trafficking and Other Charges Has Begun

federal criminal trialThe notorious Deep Web trafficking website, the Silk Road, was seized by federal investigators in October 2013, after the 29-year-old founder was arrested on serious federal criminal charges for murder-for-hire, drug trafficking, and others. After more than a year of waiting, the Silk Road founder’s trial began on January 13th.

Ross William Ulbricht, 30, stands accused of operating the “Deep Web” site, the Silk Road, an online bazaar that sold everything from illegal drugs to prostitutes to assassination services and money laundering schemes. Ulbricht used the pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts” and federal authorities spent years attempting to track him down. Finally, despite ingenious attempts to keep himself and his users anonymous, Ulbricht was caught in his own criminal trap: On March 29th, the operator contacted a hit-man through the site, requesting the murder of a user who had hacked the site and was threatening to release the names of thousands of Silk Road users. The user reportedly demanded $500,000 to pay off his drug dealers. There is no evidence that the murder-for-hire ever occurred.

“He was willing to stop at nothing to protect his criminal enterprise,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Howard, who alleged that Ulbricht paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in murder contracts on several people he felt posed a threat to Silk Road.

The Silk Road is also the primary reason for the existence and popularity of BitCoins, a currency that many retailers are beginning to pick up, and whose value is determined entirely by online transactions. BitCoins are also notoriously used as an anonymous method of purchasing illegal goods and services.

Ulbricht claims that the Silk Road was primarily a “libertarian experiment” in market economics, but Howard called Ulbricht the “Kingpin” of an intention criminal operation that was founded in 2009, when Ulbricht wanted to sell illegal hallucinogenic mushrooms he grew outside of a cabin in Texas.

Frustrating the federal criminal trial is the fact that, a mere six weeks after the Silk Road was shut down by federal authorities, The Silk Road 2.0 was created, and is nearly identical to the original Deep Website. It is even run by an anonymous user calling him or herself the Dread Pirate Roberts, leading some to speculate that Ulbricht was merely a pawn, taking the fall for a larger criminal operation.

“Ross was the perfect fall guy, because, after all, Silk Road was his idea,” said Ulbricht’s defense attorney.

The Strom Law Firm Helps Defend Against Charges in Federal Criminal Trials

The Strom Law Firm, LLC represents individuals charged with Federal Charges including:

  • Importing controlled substances
  • Manufacturing methamphetamine “Meth”, marijuana, or cocaine
  • Conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute
  • Possession with Intent to Distribute large quantities of drugs

Federal drug charges are serious and can lead to severe consequences.  Many federal drug charges carry severe mandatory sentences with limited opportunities for probation or parole.

Federal drug investigations and indictments are often combined with other charges including:

If you, your loved one, or your corporation has been contacted by a law enforcement officer about South Caorlina federal charges and face a criminal trial, you should contact the Strom Law Firm, LLC immediately. The Strom Law Firm offers free, confidential consultations so you can discuss the facts of your case with impunity. Contact us today.803.252.4800

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