Silk Road founder gets life sentence
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The founder of a notorious online black market was sentenced Friday to spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Ross Ulbricht, 31, was convicted for his role in creating Silk Road, a platform used mainly for selling illegal drugs.
Judge Katherine Forest said she was handing down the maximum sentence amid “significant public interest” over its result.
“I don’t know that you feel a lot of remorse. … I don’t think you know that you hurt a lot of people,” Forest told Ulbricht in a New York federal court, according to Mashable.
Ulbricht operated Silk Road under the username “Dread Pirate Roberts” on the site.
It was only accessible online via the Tor browser, which allows a user to browse the Web anonymously, making the site an ideal resource for selling illicit products.
A jury spent three months deliberating on Ulbricht's punishment.
The controversial Internet portal also reportedly sold assassination and prostitution services.
Mashable said law enforcement officials performed more than 60 undercover drug purchases on Silk Road between November 2011 and November 2013 as part of the case against Ulbricht. He was arrested with more than $18 million in bitcoins on his computer.
The online currency was Silk Road’s preferred tender, Mashable said.
Ulbricht was found guilty in February of multiple criminal charges related to the online black market. He was convicted on seven counts, including conspiracy to commit money laundering and distributing narcotics over the Internet.
Ulbricht repeatedly begged Forest and the jury for leniency before his sentencing Friday. He argued he is a “different person” since first creating the Web portal.
The federal government repeatedly struggled to close Silk Road and end its multiple criminal transactions online. It first closed the marketplace on 2013, only to repeat that move following the launch of “Silk Road 2.0” soon after.
Authorities have additionally arrested the founder of the site’s second version.
Police apprehended Blake Benthall, known as “Defcon” online, last November.
Updated at 5 p.m.