Date
17 August 2017
Ross Ulbricht, 30, is tagged as a "digital kingpin" who sold illegal drugs on his website Silk Road. Photo: Wired/Courtesy of Ulbricht family
Ross Ulbricht, 30, is tagged as a "digital kingpin" who sold illegal drugs on his website Silk Road. Photo: Wired/Courtesy of Ulbricht family

Silk Road website operator convicted on US drugs charges

A 30-year-old American who sold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of illegal drugs on the internet was convicted on Wednesday of all seven crimes he was charged with.

The jury in the Federal District Court in Manhattan took only 3.5 hours to return a guilty verdict against Ross Ulbricht, the man behind the Silk Road narcotics e-commerce website, technology news website Wired reported.  He faces an imprisonment term of 30 years to life.

Evidence showed that Silk Road generated revenues of more than US$213 million from January 2011 to October 2013, when Ulbricht was arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents in a public library in San Francisco while he was logged on to his laptop as Dread Pirate Roberts, the pseudonum he used in operating the online black market, according to the New York Times.

Ulbricht sold heroin, cocaine, LSD and other illegal drugs and goods in a hidden part of the internet, where deals are conducted anonymously and outside the scrutiny of law enforcers, the newspaper said, citing prosecutors. The digital currency Bitcoin was used in the transactions, it added.

Silk Road “lowered the barriers to drug dealing by enabling drug dealers to reach customers online they could have never met on the street”, federal prosecutor Serrin Turner told the jury in his closing argument.

Even after Ulbricht’s conviction, many other online black markets selling illegal drugs and goods continue to thrive on the internet, and finding their operators and putting them behind bars may not be as easy, Wired said.

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CG

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