Silk Road kingpin Ulbricht faces a life behind bars

5 Feb 2015

Ross Ulbricht, the founder of the Silk Road online marketplace, has been found guilty of all charges against him and faces life in prison.

The 30-year-old ran the infamous Silk Road marketplace where users could anonymously buy drugs, weapons and other illicit goods.

A jury in a Manhattan court room yesterday convicted Ulbricht of seven charges against him, including money laundering and a “kingpin” charge that is normally reserved for mafia dons.

Ulbricht ran Silk Road between 2011 and 2013 and was caught in the science fiction section of a San Francisco library while logged into the network.

His defence claimed he ran the marketplace as an economic experiment. 

It was claimed he stopped working on the site but was lured back to work on it and be the fall guy.

This version of events was rejected by the jury.

Dread Pirate Roberts

Under the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts, Ulbricht grew Silk Road into a billion dollar marketplace.

When he was arrested in October 2013 FBI detectives recovered thousands of pages of chat logs related to the running of Silk Road from his laptop.

FBI agents also traced US$13.4m worth of Bitcoin from Silk Road servers in Iceland to the bitcoin wallet on Ulbricht’s laptop.

Despite claims by his defence that the real Dread Pirate Roberts is still at large, the jury rejected these claims.

It is understood that Ulbricht’s defence plans to mount an appeal.

Cyber crime image via Shutterstock


John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years