Silk Road founder convicted, faces life in jail

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The founder of online black market Silk Road has been convicted on seven charges, including drug trafficking and money laundering, and could face life in prison once sentenced.

A jury took a mere three and a half hours to reach a verdict on Ross Ulbricht’s case, with the prosecution having produced substantial evidence from the defendant’s personal journals and Bitcoin wallet that attested to his guilt.

Preet Bharara, US attorney for the Southern District of New York, said: "The supposed anonymity of the dark web is not a protective shield from arrest and prosecution."

During the trial Ulbricht admitted to having created Silk Road in 2011, but claimed to have handed the site over to others shortly afterwards, before being lured back as a fall guy.

The black market is said by the US government to have generated $213m (£140m) in revenue, with Ulbricht thought to have claimed millions in commission.

Serrin Turner, a federal prosecutor, told the court that Silk Road had "lowered the barriers to drug dealing by enabling drug dealers to reach customers online they could have never met on the street."

Supporters of Ulbricht were outraged by the verdict, with Ulbricht’s mother Lyn saying she did not think her son "belongs in prison". His lawyer Joshua Dratel said they would appeal.

The FBI also accused Ulbricht of attempting to procure the services of hitmen in order to protect the site, though such charges were not brought against him in New York, and none of the allegedly planned murders are said to have been carried out.

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