Silk Road defendant deemed flight risk, denied bail

Ross William Ulbricht will remain behind bars as he awaits trial for allegedly running the underground online drugs marketplace

Federal prosecutors accused Silk Road defendant Ross William Ulbricht of procuring fake IDs.

Federal prosecutors accused Silk Road defendant Ross William Ulbricht of procuring fake IDs.

A New York federal court denied bail on Thursday to Ross William Ulbricht, the 29-year-old accused of running the Silk Road underground marketplace, deeming him a flight risk and a danger to the community.

Ulbricht's friends and family had agreed to post US$1 million in assets and co-sign a bail bond. Seventy letters in support of Ulbricht were presented, and he had also agreed to electronic monitoring, said his attorney, Joshua L. Dratel, in a phone interview.

But Magistrate Judge Ronald Ellis rejected the bail application based in part on allegations that Ulbricht tried to commission six murders over four months earlier this year.

"We're disappointed because we felt we had presented a sufficient package for bail," Dratel said.

Federal prosecutors showed the court a photograph of nine driver's licenses with what appeared to be Ulbricht's mug shot, some with a beard. Six of the licenses were from U.S. states, and one each from Canada, Australia and the U.K.

Ulbricht also allegedly filed an application with the Commonwealth of Dominica, a country of 70,000 people in the Caribbean, for "economic" citizenship, which costs around $75,000, according to another prosecutor's document.

He was arrested on Oct. 1 in a San Francisco public library while allegedly logged into the Silk Road website under "DPR," a shortened version of the nickname "Dread Pirate Roberts," according to the prosecutor's letter arguing against bail.

Photos of the laptop's screen submitted in court showed an instant messaging program running using a nickname "dread" and a Silk Road control panel for an account holding more than 50,000 bitcoins.

The Silk Road marketplace website was configured to use a privacy feature called TOR that allowed buyers and sellers to transact anonymously using the virtual currency Bitcoin.

The Silk Road took a cut of transactions, netting as much as 144,000 bitcoins from January 2011 until the site was shut down in September. The bitcoins were worth more than $20 million at the time of Ulbricht's arrest, according to prosecutors.

Ulbricht is charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York with narcotics trafficking, computer hacking and money laundering conspiracies.

A grand jury in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland also indicted Ulbricht on charges of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, attempted witness murder, use of interstate commerce facilities in commission of murder-for-hire and aiding and abetting.

Ulbricht remains in pre-trial confinement at Brooklyn's Metropolitan Detention Center. Dratel said he expects New York prosecutors to issue an indictment, but no court date has been scheduled.

Send news tips and comments to Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags CriminalsecurityUS Department of Justicelegal

More about RobertsTwitter

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Jeremy Kirk

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place