Ross Ulbricht, who was convicted earlier this year of being Dread Pirate Roberts, owner of online drugs bazaar Silk Road, is due to be sentenced next Friday.
Australians were over-represented as customers of Silk Road (third largest user base by identified country according to FBI documents) and now it seems we will be over-represented at Ross Ulbricht’s sentencing hearing too. On both sides of the courtroom.
The prosecution is seeking to admit testimony of six families of Silk Road customers who died from drug overdoses or other complications whilst using drugs alleged to have come from Silk Road. Three of those victims – Preston Bridge, Jacob Lyon-Green and Scott Wilsdon – are Australians.
On the other side, Dr Monica Barratt, Australia’s go-to academic on all things drugs and the internet (and moderator of the Bluelight forums), has provided an affidavit in support of Ross Ulbricht’s sentencing submission. By some reports, Judge Forrest has been swayed enough by the defence’s harm reduction arguments to seek out even more academic analysis of Silk Road. In particular, she has asked for two publications by Aussie Dr James Martin, including his book Drugs on the Dark Net, which beat pretty much everybody else’s out. [grumble grumble, she didn’t ask for my book which I’m sure is an easier, if less intellectual, read]
It seems Australians are inextricably intertwined with the darknet markets. We have embraced them perhaps more than any other country on a per capita basis. No doubt it has much to do with our big borders and very expensive drugs.
Results of the most recent Global Drug Survey will be coming out next month and they include much data on use of the darknet markets by Australians. The revelations should be interesting.