Following the three week trial of Ross Ulbricht, the alleged drug kingpin behind the Silk Road underground marketplace has been found guilty on all counts.
January witnessed Ulbricht’s lawyer Joshua Dratel battling prosecutor Timothy Howard through any means necessary, despite the heavy evidence continually mounting against his client, the defendant now pinned as DPR. At one point, Dratel even thought it would be smart to point the finger at Mark Karpeles, the former CEO of doomed bitcoin conglomerate Mt. Gox and suggest that he was the real culprit behind Silk Road, but ultimately all attempts to divert attention and guilt failed.
Earlier on Wednesday, the jury deliberated for only mere hours, and upon their return to the court, they seemed to have no qualms labeling Ulbricht as the real Dread Pirate Roberts and the operator of Silk Road.
The two biggest burdens to Ulbricht’s post-trial freedom came in the forms of FBI special agent Ilhwan Yum and IRS special agent Gary Alford. Yum was able to trace almost 4,000 bitcoin transactions and over 700,000 bitcoins over a year-long period from Silk Road servers to Ulbricht’s personal computer. Overall, over $13 million in bitcoin from the Silk Road marketplace was traced directly to Ulbricht’s laptop.
Special agent Gary Alford commented that Ulbricht did not do a particularly good job when it came to concealing his identity, and was able to link one of his aliases, ‘altoid,’ to Ulbricht via the popular cryptocurrency forum, Bitcointalk. The forum held the first user mention of the term “Silk Road.” The post was written by someone with the alias ‘altoid,’ and Alford was able to link the alias to the email address email@example.com. The post advertised a job opening for an IT specialist “to be the lead developer in a venture backed bitcoin start-up company.”
There were also transcripts regarding alleged murder-for-hire plots instigated by Ulbricht, although currently there is no evidence that these crimes took place and Ulbricht is not facing related charges in New York where his trial occurred.
Ulbricht is currently scheduled for sentencing on May 15th.
Images from DoJ.