back to article Ross Ulbricht, in the library, with the laptop: Silk Road boss found GUILTY of all charges

Ross Ulbricht, the man accused of running the Silk Road online drugs souk under the alias "Dread Pirate Roberts," has been found guilty of all charges against him. The jury in the Manhattan, New York courtroom where Ulbricht stood trial for drugs trafficking and other offenses took just three and a half hours to deliberate on …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Other than

    A determined and successful attempt to demonstrate that the feebs used unlawful methods to identify him before acquiring warrants (maybe for appeal) it looked like a bit of a no hoper. Might have had a little sympathy before he started taking out contracts on staff (the ultimate severance package I suppose) and rivals

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Other than

      #FreeUlbricht2015

      (upvote this comment to downvote)

      1. Mephistro
        1. Titus Technophobe
          Happy

          Re: Other than

          I can't feel any sympathy for Ross at all. He ran a web site which facilitated many illegal activities. He seems to my my mind, among other things, to have been correctly convicted of narcotics-trafficking, .

          His only defense being that he wasn't DPR which given that he was caught red-handed being DPR fell apart. Even Ross and his defense team didn't argue with the charges regarding the legality of Silk Road ... this seems to me one of the more unequivocal convictions of somebody basically caught 'bang to rights' doing the crime.

          1. boltar Silver badge

            Re: Other than

            "He ran a web site which facilitated many illegal activities. He seems to my my mind, among other things, to have been correctly convicted of narcotics-trafficking, ."

            Don't forget that as far as lot of the naive millenials on here are concerned - national laws don't apply online and , "it should, like , totally be a free-for-all dude". So they'll upvote any comment that seems to support sticking to Da Man even if that involves selling illegal drugs and trying to kill people.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Other than

            It isn't the narcotics I object to - US doctors are the biggest suppliers of narcotics and kill quite a lot of people every year with them - but the other activities, which were really nasty. I'd send him down for those even if his entire drug dealing was supplying old ladies with MS with high quality, low cost marijuana.

          3. adnim
            Unhappy

            Re: Other than

            I expect to be down voted, a lot.. Who the fuck are you to say selling narcotics is wrong?

            And by who's fucking rules? I don't condone violence of any kind, unless one is backed against a wall and the choice is kill or be killed.

            When will people realise there are no rules, only consequences. And laws are created by those that wish to maintain a Status Quo or control.... Was there a rule list as you exited the vagina? No there fucking wasn't. Rules are imposed by those with the power to kick ass.

            Our social system is based on abuse, abuse of human rights and abuse of ones right to self determination. The system used to be feudal where the hardest and toughest bastard made up the rules to suit his ( I say his because at that time women did what they were told and were smacked down if they had the gumption to disagree) own ideas of what is right and wrong (usually motivated by greed and the desire to fuck and abuse anything he wanted).

            If you ain't man/woman enough to live and die by your own rules you are nothing more than a puppet. If someone wishes to abuse narcotics and die ffs let them, who is anyone to say different?

            Yes the weak do need some protection they need protection from from those that would refuse them choice. They don't need protecting from their own stupidity.. Let them suffer their own ignorance, protecting them from that only serves to stagnate the gene pool.

            I live in this society quite well, not because I abide laws out of fear but because I abide those laws that *I* feel are morally correct. And I am smart enough (so far) not to have been caught for ignoring those laws *I* deem to be bullshit.

            Basically if you fuck with someone else prepared to be fucked with... If one lives and lets live one should be left alone to pursue whatever path one wishes. Who is anyone to tell me what is right and wrong... are you a fucking god or something? if so prove it.

            I despair, for the vast majority of humanity are fucking puppets. It makes me angry when I see someone telling someone else how to behave based on their own conditioning/religion/ideology/bullshit. For they are just as clueless as I. The difference between us being that I know I don't have a clue nor the right to tell anyone how to behave.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Other than - @adnim

              " If someone wishes to abuse narcotics and die ffs let them, who is anyone to say different?"

              So long as they don't die by driving their car into a load of other people, or fund their habit by crime, or expect the NHS to pick up the pieces, you might have a point. But your post comes over as a solipsistic rant. You attack (I think) feudalism, but the end result of your approach will be feudalism, because there are people out there who will use liberty of action to seize power for themselves. Under feudalism, the Church at least tried to exert some sort of control over the psychopaths. Feudalism with no social controls would be...North Korea, perhaps.

              1. adnim

                Re: Other than - @adnim

                Aye you have a point, I would expect reasonable people to be feel empathy and act accordingly. Wrong expectation I guess. No it's my bad wrong expectation entirely. Sigh.

                I brought my kid up this way... I told him many times...Your life is your own, live by your own rules, think of others, think before you act. Face the consequences of your actions and take responsibility for those actions. But most of all empathise.

                I am very proud of what he has become.

                The excuse.. I do this because everyone else does is utter bullshit.

                The church/religion and indeed government wants control over everyone not just the psychopaths. And I am pretty sure it it is the society in which we live that actually breeds psychopaths. Psychopaths are made not born. What's more they are in the minority, unless you count our so called leaders and rule makers.

                I guess I just can't see that the world is a wonderful place filled with such love and tolerance that our views and behaviour need not change.

    2. Raumkraut

      Re: Other than

      I always thought his defence was going to be along the lines of: "Ulbricht sometimes had access the account identified as DPR, but so did several other people over the course of time, and it was not Ulbricht who performed any illegal acts using that identity."

      Though I wasn't there, so I don't actually know how much evidence the prosecution was able to provide identifying Ulbricht as DPR (and the only DPR) at the time that the offences took place.

      I wonder if "my lawyer was crap" is a valid basis for appeal?

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Other than

        "I wonder if "my lawyer was crap" is a valid basis for appeal?"

        Possibly but "getting caught red handed whilst wearing a metaphorical tricorn, parrot and a wooden leg whilst typing Aaaarrrrr me hearties" isn't a basis for appeal unless your name is OJ or it was international pirate day.

        1. Amorous Cowherder
          Coat

          Re: Other than

          National Pirate Day....so that would be on a "Sat-Arrrgh-day" then! I'll get me...

    3. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: Other than

      That has been explained before. The FBI may have searched some server without permission of the owner or a warrant. This my have violated the rights of the owner. It didn't violate the rights of a random person about whom they found information and is therefore fully usable against that person.

      It's like the police searching my home without warrant and without my permission and finding a bloody knife with your fingerprints. Since searching _my_ home didn't violate _your_ rights, the knife can be used as evidence against you.

      The only way that Ulbricht could have complained would have been by saying that he owned the server, which would have been admitting that he owned the server which would have made him guilty as well.

      1. SoulReaper

        Re: Other than

        The prosecutor is arguing that it is his server, and he is DPR . Either he is, and they violated his rights by searching it, or he isn't, and they need to drop the charges. They are trying to have it both ways.

        They are violating his rights whether or not it is his server if they are taking his information from wherever he chose to store it (with the owner's permission, and without their consent to a search). They have no legal right to search without a warrant, and instead of being put in prison like they should be for illegal searches, they are instead discouraged from it by the evidence being excluded from use, and further investigation being fruit of the poison tree. Otherwise they could always illegally search A's house for evidence against B, and search B for evidence against A and never need a warrant. And if that isn't enough evidence to convict, use that now "legally obtained" evidence to search each party again to use what was in A's house against A.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Picking on the puppet

    Did anyone really expect anything else ? It took the jury only 3.5 hrs to come to a judgement : I am surprised that it even lasted that long.

    Ross Ulbrechts true crime was not drug laundering etc, it was being successfull in a business that our overlords had no control over.

    Drugs are sold and laundered in a huge scale every day all over the United States, the World. Most of which I presume are controlled by some very well connected people.. I doubt that any of these people could exist without the help from some very high up figures... Ross Ulbrecht, the Silk Road, the Darkent, TOR, presented a threat to these figures, so they brought it down...

    I wonder how many darknets exist that are yet unknown ?

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Picking on the puppet

      "Drugs are sold and laundered in a huge scale every day all over the United States, the World. Most of which I presume are controlled by some very well connected people.."

      It may surprise you to learn that Ronald Ray-gun orchestrated the largest organised smuggling of cocaine into the USA during the 1980s (most of which was processed into crack) whilst publicly pushing the "war on drugs" - it was all documented when Iran-Contra scandal finally broke.

      If that's not well connected, I don't know what is.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Picking on the puppet

        Not surprising at all if you remember those times. The drugs went somewhere and I doubt it was to government landfill or incinerator. Some questions have still be completely answered.

        1. Bloakey1

          Re: Picking on the puppet

          "Not surprising at all if you remember those times. The drugs went somewhere and I doubt it was to government landfill or incinerator. Some questions have still be completely answered."

          As one who was involved in the 'war' against drugs I can now divulge that the drugs in question went on to fund further black ops. At the time the CIA and its sub contractors were the biggest dealers in the world.

          Anyway, we won the war, you can't buy drugs any more, prohibition worked as well and so did the Sykes-Picot agreement.

          1. boltar Silver badge

            Re: Picking on the puppet

            "prohibition worked as well and so did the Sykes-Picot agreement."

            And obviously a drugs free for all would be sooo much better - just look at alcohol. The US doesn't have any issues with alcoholism, alcohol related liver disease, drunk drivers, drink fueled fights/family breakups/abuse, bootleg spirits does it?

            Face it - where any kind of drug is concerned there is no "right" solution. There's just a less wrong one.

            1. squigbobble

              Re: Picking on the puppet

              ...and the US didn't have issues like the Jake Walk and spiralling organised crime during prohibition.

              But yeah, there's no right answer.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Picking on the puppet

      How true AC. I was surprised they even held a trial, but then 'the law' must appear to be done to keep the general public quiet.

  3. Little Mouse Silver badge

    Inconceivable!

    As any fule kno - The real Roberts has been retired fifteen years and living like a king in Patagonia.

  4. razorfishsl

    Now we just need that scumbag Mt Gox founder Mark Karpeles .

  5. Mark 85 Silver badge

    The Dilbert Defense failed.

    "On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog." or Dread Pirate Roberts apparently.

  6. goldcd

    Meh

    Worst defence ever.

    I'm 99(.99)% sure he was DPR, and looks like I wasn't alone.

    Proper defence would have been:

    "Yes I was"

    "Before we go any further, could you please elaborate on the legal means that brought me to this dock?"

    "What law did I break, exactly?"

    "This FUD about me taking out multiple hits - which people do you mean, and should you actually name somebody, why aren't they dead or at the very least assaulted?"

    If you'd really wanted to show-boat, then you could have taken the millions that had cruised through SR, postulated reduction in harm compared to conventional dealing, oh ffs.

    I'm not for one moment saying another lawyer could have got him off, but I can't see any other lawyer getting him a worse outcome (both in sentencing, and making him look like a pussy as he did so).

    1. BigFire

      Re: Meh

      The charge of soliciting hits on 6 individuals are on a separate docket. Admitting to being DPR doesn't help in this case. That being said, this case hinges on the government proving that he was DPR and that goes a long way to their next case of hiring hitman to eliminating his former employee/competitors.

    2. Mark 65

      Re: Meh

      To be fair, from the little I have read on the case, the presiding judge declare just about everything the defence wanted to use as evidence he wasn't DPR as inadmissible. Now that might have been correct but when it happens it will leave you looking like you have no defence.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thankfully they haven't found its latest replacement

    Yeah, they haven't found the latest replacement, it's called "The Clogged Sewer" and can be found on the servers at TWiT.TV. The mastermind behind the operation is Leo Laporte and his predatory padre presenter.

  8. LucreLout Silver badge

    Idiots!

    "The internet is not what it seems," Dratel said in his closing argument on Tuesday

    Well, yeah, it certainly wasn't what it seemed to your client. For some inexplicable reason he thought he was anonymous.

    True anonymity takes a lot of determined effort, research, and preparation. You can't just tick a box that says "Post anonymously?".

    Having gone to all the trouble of being anonymous, surely it would be sensible to then not be greedy and run the site beyond the short term - just make your million or two, and then shut it down. Someone else will be along in a few hours to start another and they'll end up keeping law enforcement busy in your place.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Idiots!

      He did take a lot of steps to stay anonymous - but to be caught he only had to mess up once.

      1. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: Idiots!

        He did take a lot of steps to stay anonymous - but to be caught he only had to mess up once.

        That's why I suggested he should have got out at a couple of bar, rather than aiming at ever higher numbers.

        Option 1) - Retire to somewhere sunny with a few million behind you, and while away your days with pretty girls on the beach.

        Option 2) - Shoot for the moon and get caught, and spend most of your life in jail as someones bitch.

        Seemed like an easy choice to me. How much is enough?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Idiots!

      "surely it would be sensible to then not be greedy and run the site beyond the short term"

      I have a longer post below on this, but I can't help thinking that a sensible person of high intelligence in today's IT world is going to be able to earn millions over a legal career, so why go in for something illegal and high risk, where you associate with people who probably have links to violent gangs?

      1. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: Idiots!

        I have a longer post below on this, but I can't help thinking that a sensible person of high intelligence in today's IT world is going to be able to earn millions over a legal career

        A lot of money over a working life, or a lot of money in a very short space of time while still young. The two have materially different worth due to the time value of money and frictional costs.

        I can't help but feel that when the current wave of developers and security professionals get scrapped at 50ish, that there's going to be an explosion in this type of crime.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I kept help thinking he's not DPR for the sole reason that he was so easily cornered. Why would someone in his position, making millions from Silk Road do something as risky as logging into his website from such a public place. It just smacks of him being clueless and probably just a web admin as opposed to the mastermind behind it all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I kept help thinking he's not DPR

      Though I don't know whether this diagnosis applies in his case, many organised criminals are psychopaths. And research into psychopaths reveals that they tend to underestimate the intelligence of other people (they don't understand the motivation of people who don't think like them), they are impulsive and lack insight. Anybody reading about the activities of certain bankers who obviously can't be named here might think that the pattern is familiar.

      So I wouldn't rule him out based on the odd act of stupidity. He may well just have thought he was godlike and untouchable.

      (OT, but it's noticeable that the descriptions of vampires from Bram Stoker on are definitely psychopathic personality, and the stories have it that vampires make stupid mistakes like thinking that writing their names backward is an effective disguise, or show obsessive personality traits.)

    2. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      And logging in from a private place is safer how? I expect he used a different public access point every time.

  10. Amorous Cowherder

    Maybe I'm missing something but the guy ran a site to allow selling of narcotics, at the very least he turned a blind eye to it going on and he contracted hired killers. Doesn't sound just another daft kid running a tiny, harmless, "backstreet" website, sounds likes a thoroughly unpleasant piece of work who's deeds are catching up with him.

  11. CapiD
    Facepalm

    What defence?

    The pitiful defence of 3 character witnesses stating he was "peaceful and nonviolent", an attempt to Perry Mason the court with a couple of last minute surprise witnesses (Which without proper declaration was destined to fail) and a defence closing argument which can be at best called a Chewbacca Defence https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clKi92j6eLE

    This was not a defense with any great chance of success especially when followed by the best prosecution quote I have ever seen “There were no little elves that put that evidence on [Ulbricht’s] computer,”

    1. Mephistro

      Re: What defence?

      “There were no little elves that put that evidence on [Ulbricht’s] computer,”

      The problem with this assertion is that the elves in question have been spotted in the wild and are routinely employed by, amongst others, the FBI.

      I'm not saying that he isn't guilty. But, if he wasn't, how could we possibly tell?

      </AdvocatusDiavoli>

  12. Dropper

    I am Spartacus

    His defense seems to be "There are many Dread Pirate Roberts out there.. I was one of them, you know the one good one, who didn't sell one of the most addictive and soul destroying drugs available or hire contract killers to murder my co-workers. I was just 'aving some laughs with a few blokes on the interweb yer honor."

    As much as I admire boundless optimism, I feel my Dread Pirate Roberts might have come up a bit short when presenting this argument.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This needed to happen. Why have laws if they aren't enforced? either legalise the drugs or apply the laws. Tolerance brings the law into disrepute.

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