Ross Ulbricht, the founder and operator of online marketplace Silk Road, has been sentenced to life in prison following a conviction in February. Ulbricht was convicted on seven charges including money laundering, conspiracy to sell drugs, and engaging in criminal activity.
Ulbricht was arrested in 2013 after operating the Silk Road marketplace for two years under the alias of Dread Pirate Roberts. The Silk Road could only be accessed through the Tor network, and it used Bitcoin as payment for the purchase and selling of items. The anonymity the website offered allowed vendors to sell everything from drugs to fake IDs, shirts, and even Bibles.
Charges brought against two federal agents that were involved in the Silk Road's investigation were argued by Ulbricht's defense to consider a mistrial. It was ruled that the agents' crimes did not help Ulbricht's innocence, and it was dismissed as grounds for mistrial.
For the charges that Ulbricht faced, a 20 years sentence was mandatory. To make an example of the crimes committed and to deter future criminals from running such an operation, claimed the Judge, Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison.
Other websites similar to the Silk Road have sprung up since Ulbricht's arrest in 2013.