Posts Tagged ‘Ross Ulbricht’

After reading the sensational extracts in a number of publications (“The Silk Road was a one-stop internet emporium for anyone looking for a kidney, an Uzi or a half kilo of cocaine”), and witnessing the heartache it was causing Lyn Ulbricht, I readily admit I came to American Kingpin with a prejudiced and critical eye.

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I was digging through my Silk Road archives when researching parts of my new book, and came up with a couple of little nuggets surrounding the latest “rogue agent” allegations that I don’t think have been reported yet.

Yuhendri Fajri via flickr.com, poorly adulterated

TL;DR:

  • What we assumed to be a simple Silk Road scam in early 2013 may have been law enforcement intelligence gathering + another Force/Bridges theft
  • There may be an explanation why Ross Ulbricht didn’t move to Belize after the controlled delivery of fake IDs to him in July 2013
  • If you’ve ever spoken to me, chances are the three-letter-agencies know about it

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There’s nothing like an inaccurate, poorly-written, unresearched defamatory piece of garbage journalism to bring people out of the woodwork. So I have to thank one Ms Margi Murphy for this laughably bad piece of trash

Dark Webz downloading heroin into your children's veins & filming them necked!

Dark Webz downloading heroin into your children’s veins & filming them nekkid before killing them!

I often lament the loss of Silk Road (v.1.0). I was so entrenched in that  place, spending hours a day in the forums as I wrote my book, blogging about the shenanigans as they happened and shooting shit with other members. Losing it felt like losing friends. Whilst more people than ever before are buying drugs online from the darknet markets, none of those markets have the sense of community, purpose and camaraderie as the original.

Although they no longer all gather in one place, I’ve kept in touch with several of the old guard. Some I now know by real name (high-profile arrests and all ) and others I still know only by their handles.

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Yesterday I posted Silk Road moderator Peter N’s story. It gained a lot of attention from supporters and haters alike. It also got noticed by someone else. And I’m no longer sure which category they belong in.

plaque1n

I was surprised to receive not only a comment on the blog, but also a personal email from the Chief Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, SDNY. It seems they had taken umbrage at the line:

It must have been disappointing for the prosecution who asked for an extra 10-12 years to add to the 18 months he’s already spent inside.

It may have been my unnecessarily bitchy reporting of those numbers that got up the Chief Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, SDNY’s nose so much that they took the time to write personally. I was quite wrong, they assured me:

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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.

Image: news.com.au

Image: news.com.au

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.

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… at his sentencing next week

Ross Ulbricht, convicted of being the Dread Pirate Roberts, owner and operator of the original Silk Road, is due to be sentenced next Friday. And his family would be happy to see you there.

Ross Ulbricht (far right) and family

“It would be good to have some support. I think it’s going to be very difficult,” said Ross’ mother, Lyn, who has campaigned tirelessly on his behalf. It is clearly taking its toll on her and the rest of the family and no wonder – even the “best” outcome is pretty shitty.

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There are certainly winners from last week’s shutdown of Silk Road, the online black market where every illicit drug imaginable could be bought at the click of a button. But it’s not a win for the War on Drugs, nor for people affected by drug addiction, or for the Australian taxpayer.  The people who will welcome the FBI’s seizure of the site most enthusiastically will be bikie gangs and other organised crime involved in illegal drug importation.

Back when I first started reporting in the mainstream about Silk Road, I wrote a post, ‘Why politicians and law enforcement should embrace Silk Road‘. I argued it was a safer alternative than the current model and reduced the violence associated with the illegal drug trade.

Winning! You can buy your drugs from him now

Winning! You can buy your drugs from him now

Now that Silk Road has been closed down and hard-earned tax dollars all over the world are being spent busting computer nerds, amongst the hyperbole and hysteria that comes from much of the mainstream media, there are some commentators piping up with the same arguments. Because they make sense.

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