New York will soon play host to the man accused of running the illegal trading website known as “Silk Road.” He has been scheduled for transfer from California to a prison in New York state, where he will face charges of money laundering, computer hacking conspiracy, narcotics trafficking conspiracy and others. He has refused to seek bail while in custody and has been using the services of the public defender in San Francisco. After his transfer, he will have a new lawyer, but no other information has yet been released.
The drug charges stem from federal prosecutor’s implication of the man with the ownership, creation and operation of Silk Road. Silk Road was a website accessible through Tor, a security-conscious network of international computers that attempts to obscure and encrypt all of their activity. Silk Road, which began only two years ago, was one of the best-known open marketplaces on the internet where a wide variety of illegal substances was for sale. Customers could buy pharmaceuticals and drugs untraceably, primarily with internet currencies such as Bitcoin and Litecoin.
Federal officers took the accused man into custody in a San Francisco public library as he chatted online with a cooperating witness. The Silk Road site went down shortly thereafter. Among serious allegations against him is the charge that he attempted to orchestrate a murder for hire as part of a defense against a blackmail plot. The man has yet to release any public statement about these charges. Through his attorney, he has only confirmed his name and has categorically disavowed all aliases attributed to him, including “Dread Pirate Roberts” who was said to moderate the Silk Road site.
Although the police accuse the man of making more than $80 million off commissions from sales on his site, so far his defense has been marked by cautious restraint and thrift. The prosecution will have to prove that he was the only individual with access to various internet aliases at a wide variety of times and locations. The prosecution’s task is formidable, though they claim that their evidence is extensive. Any individual facing such serious charges in such uncertain territory would be wise to seek the counsel of an attorney.
Source: NBC News, “Man who allegedly ran illegal drug bazaar to be sent to NY to face charges”, Daniel Arkin, October 09, 2013