Silk Road Mastermind Ross Ulbricht Sentenced To Life In Prisonby Tim Cushing
May. 29, 2015
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Ross Ulbricht, the man behind the darkweb drug marketplace known as the Silk Road, has just been sentenced to more imprisonment than he has actual lives: two life sentences and "max sentences on all other charges." In addition, the government has chosen to hold him financially culpable for every single transaction that occurred at the Silk Road -- a fine of $184 million -- $166 million of which it has already recouped through the auction of seized Bitcoins.
Ulbricht had argued for leniency, arguing his online market "reduced harm" by moving the sale of drugs off the street. This argument was greeted with contempt by the presiding judge, who called Ulbricht's actions "thoughtful and calculated" and Ulbricht no different than a "dangerous dealer" pushing drugs in the Bronx. She also dismissed his argument as a "privileged fantasy," stating "There's no way Silk Road could reasonably be expected to reduce violence."
His last-ditch attempt to rely on the kindness of the court failed just as spectacularly as most of his legal arguments during the course of the prosecution. This is how it ends (pending appeal) for The Internet's Own Drug Dealer: a maximum sentencing coda, bringing closure to a cautionary tale of darkweb exploits, nearly non-existent operational security and a government that seemed to regularly color outside the lines of normal investigative techniques. While the story is certainly colorful and with a tech edge not normally associated with drug trafficking, Ulbricht's legal fate is ultimately no different than any "dangerous Bronx drug dealer."