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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

As Silk Road Returns, "Dread Pirate Roberts" Attorney Says Feds Have The Wrong Man

Posted By on Wed, Nov 6, 2013 at 3:20 PM

As you were
  • As you were

Silk Road is back -- and so is the Dread Pirate Roberts.

A month has passed since federal agents gave the Glen Park library science fiction section the thrill of its life when they swooped in to arrest Ross Ulbricht, who they say is the mastermind behind Bitcoin-fueled drug marketplace Silk Road.

An attorney for Ulbricht, now in federal custody in New York, told reporters Wednesday that the feds got the wrong guy, that his client couldn't possibly be the "Dread Pirate Roberts" who racked up a mint in Bitcoin by overseeing drug sales -- and tried to hire an undercover agent to perform a murder for hire.

He may have a point: a new Silk Road launched Wednesday, and the new site's admin is... "Dread Pirate Roberts."

Remember what Wesley said -- there's more than one Dread Pirate Roberts.

The new Silk Road looks an awful lot like the old Silk Road -- still on the Deep Web, still accessible using the TOR browser -- but with an extra authentication measure, according to Forbes. There's also a "Fuck you" to the feds slipped in: the login page changes the feds' mushroom stamp from the shutdown to say, "This Hidden Site Has Risen Again." How much will any of this help Ulbricht? If we had to hazard a guess -- and we were him -- we'd be sizing up jail cells for curtains and trying on orange jumpsuits. The body of evidence that led the feds to finger the onetime West Portal resident in the first place seems awfully damning. Ulbricht used his own personal Gmail address to solicit help writing the original Silk Road site and to promote it, and a batch of IDs bought on the site were intercepted by the feds and then delivered to him. But all that also means it can't hurt. All Ulbricht needs in front of a jury is a reasonable doubt. The new Dread Pirate Roberts is not, so far anyway, boasting that he is the same man -- and until the feds prove it in court, or until he accepts a deal, Ulbricht isn't boasting about it either.
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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Bio:
Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.

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