NPR : News

Filed Under:

Alleged Silk Road Mastermind Pleads Not Guilty To Trafficking

Ross William Ulbricht, the accused proprietor of a shadowy online marketplace that specialized in illegal transactions, has plead not guilty in a Manhattan court to drug trafficking, computer hacking, money laundering and running a continuing criminal conspiracy.

A trial for Ulbricht, who allegedly ran the now-defunct Silk Road, has been set for Nov. 3.

As we reported after Ulbricht's October arrest, the 29-year-old is also known by his hacker handle, Dread Pirate Roberts. He was arrested in a San Francisco library and has been in custody ever since. In a criminal complaint filed immediately after his arrest, Ulbrich was accused of narcotics trafficking and soliciting a Silk Road user "to execute a murder-for-hire of another Silk Road user."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Serrin Turner said Friday that the government may bring additional charges before Ulbricht's trial. The Associated Press says prosecutors have promised to present 'voluminous' evidence at trial.

The AP writes:

"Authorities say Silk Road, which had nearly 1 million registered users by July, generated more than $1 billion in illicit business from January 2011 through September. The website used Bitcoin, the tough-to-track digital currency, before it was shut down."

"... During his court appearance Friday, Ulbricht stood in his prison blue uniform with his hands clasped behind his back, answering 'not guilty' each time [U.S. District Judge Katherine] Forrest read aloud a charge against him."

"His lawyer, Joshua Dratel, said he would be filing motions to challenge the charges."

"Federal investigators say Silk Road users anonymously browsed through nearly 13,000 listings under such categories as cannabis, psychedelics and stimulants. Authorities said many of the transactions were illicit."

The charges and setting of a trial date for Ulbricht comes barely a week after Charlie Shrem, CEO of the BitInstant bitcoin exchange, was charged with money laundering in "a scheme to sell over $1 million in Bitcoins to user of 'Silk Road.'"

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Remains In Jamestown Linked To Early Colonial Leaders

Scientists from the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and The Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation say they've identified four men buried in the earliest English church in America.
NPR

Me-Tea-Morphosis: Tea Bags Get Second Life As Works Of Art

Artists are reinventing the humble tea bag, letting its contents and simple shape and color shine in beautiful, fragile art. Some are even farming out the tea drinking to get to the used bags.
NPR

New York's LaGuardia Airport To Get Long Overdue Redesign

NPR's Melissa Block talks to Janet R. Daly Bednarek, an aviation expert and professor at the University of Dayton, about the airport that was once thought of as a model for all U.S. airports.
NPR

Researchers Warn Against 'Autonomous Weapons' Arms Race

Already, researcher Stuart Russell says, sentry robots in South Korea "can spot and track a human being for a distance of 2 miles — and can very accurately kill that person."

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.