Silk Road Drug Marketplace Founder Sentenced to Life in Prison Without Parole
The convicted mastermind behind the world’s largest online narcotics emporium has been sentenced by a federal judge to two terms of life in prison and three lesser sentences, USA Today reports.
The judge also ordered Ross Ulbricht, 31, to forfeit $184 million dollars. The website made over $187 million before it was shut down in 2013.
The government estimated that roughly $1.2 billion in illegal drug transactions took place on Silk Road.
The judge said it was a “demand expanding operation” and that what Ulbricht did was thoughtful, as opposed to just being an economic experiment. She added that he often referred to it as his life’s work and a worldwide criminal enterprise.
“Silk Road was about creating demand and fulfilling demand,” the judge said. “You don’t fit the criminal profile” — noting that he was well educated — “but you are a criminal.”
“I don’t know that you feel a lot of remorse,” the judge added. “I don’t think you know that you hurt a lot of people.”
Ulbricht’s defense team said it would seek an appeal, Wired reports, noting that two DEA agents on the case allegedly stole bitcoin used to make payments on the site.
Ulbricht’s lawyer called life sentence “unreasonable, unjust, unfair.”
Ulbricht faced anywhere from 20 years to life in prison for his role in running Silk Road under the pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts,” a reference to the cult classic “Princess Bride.”
Ulbricht was convicted in February of all seven counts, including trafficking drugs on the internet, narcotics-trafficking conspiracy, running a continuing criminal enterprise, computer-hacking conspiracy, and money-laundering conspiracy, according to Bloomberg.
“I’m not the man I was when I created Silk Road,” Ulbricht told the court before the sentencing. “I wish I could go back and convince myself to take a different path.”
Parents of drug-overdose victims reportedly spoke before sentencing, and Ulbricht started crying as he apologized.
“I never wanted that to happen,” he said.
Last week, Ulbricht and 97 of his friends and relatives wrote letters to US Judge Katherine Forrest pleading for the most lenient sentence possible — in this case, 20 years.