Ross Ulbright, Alleged Silk Road Website Mastermind, Arrested In San Francisco
Ross Ulbright, a former Penn State University grad student, stands accused of creating criminal e-commerce website Silk Road.
The FBI caught Ulbright after he allegedly got careless and posted his Gmail address online. On Tuesday afternoon, they stormed a San Francisco library where Ulbright was working. He was subsequently charged with narcotic trafficking, computer hacking and money laundering.
Federal agents believe that he is the founder of Silk Road, and goes by The Princess Bride-themed pseudonym “the Dread Pirate Roberts.” In addition to the email address lead, authorities also believe that Ulbright’s LinkedIn profile hints at the criminal enterprise. In the profile, he references a shift in ambition to correlate with his libertarian political views.
Ulbright’s LinkedIn profile further states his desire to concentrate on, "creating an economic simulation to give people a first-hand experience of what it would be like to live in a world without the systemic use of force" used by "institutions and governments." He added, “I want to use economic theory as a means to abolish the use of coercion and aggression amongst mankind.”
While it was running, Silk Road functioned as a sort of marketplace for an assortment of criminal activity. Site users were allegedly able to make anonymous transactions through sophisticated encryption for drugs, forged documents, counterfeit money, weapons, hackers and, perhaps most shockingly, hitmen. Ulbright himself is alleged to have used his own site to hire a hitman to have a blackmailer murdered.
– Chelsea Regan