Heroin users following the case of Ross William Ulbricht are not alone in discovering that this true story is much stranger than fiction. In fact, you can’t make up a tale like Ulbricht’s, who was arrested for selling heroin in Oakland in October 2013. Hiding behind the Internet on a secret website called Silk Road, Ulbricht masterminded drug sales wherever he could poke his modem, including Maryland and New York, until the federal courts finally brought him and his drug-dealing ways to a halt.
Ulbricht was the megalomaniac behind a little-known website known among heroin users simply as Silk Road. From there Ulbricht sold not only drugs but also malicious computer software and fake ID cards. Under the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts, he fancied himself a buccaneer of the digital age, stealing the name of Cary Elwes’ hero in The Princess Bride.
Death to Heroin Users
From 2010 to 2013—that we know of—Ulbricht remained in arrogant denial that anybody could topple his so-called empire. Although the feds have charged him with the deaths of possibly six people, news updates indicate that prosecutors cannot quite connect the dots between Ulbricht and the heroin users who were killed. In some cases, the deaths occurred to people who were threatening to reveal Ulbricht’s connection with Silk Road. Original news stories claimed that for one of the murders, Ulbricht mistakenly paid an undercover federal agent, who took the money and faked the murder.
Feds believe that Ulbricht spent $730,000 paying for or attempting hits on those who ran interference with his transactions or website. Two of the alleged murders took place in Canada, crossing international borders. Federal agents arrested him at the public library in San Francisco in October 2013—and confiscated his computer, which listed one of his assets valued at $104 million as S R Inc. Could that have been Silk Road? Ulbricht also had $144,000 in bitcoins, which is digital, untraceable currency created to avoid detection by law enforcement officials and also evade taxes.
Prosecutors believe that Ulbricht victimized not just heroin users, but also sold cocaine, methamphetamine, and LSD. Despite his arrest, his website went back up pretty quickly, although you can only access it if you utilize an anonymous browser such as Tor.
Going into 2015, the case is stalled because the so-called Dark Web published some threats against Judge Katherine Forrest overseeing the case. Forbes.com estimates that Silk Road continues to earn $45 million per year, even now. Ulbricht’s mom, although horrified at the threats, continues to raise money for her baby boy’s defense. At this writing she has raised $214,000 of the targeted $250,000.
Ulbricht is simply a despicable criminal who cares nothing for the heroin users whose lives he destroys, as long as he gets their money. He’s not a hero or a fantasy pirate. Don’t waste your tears or money on this person, who is no better than the man on your local street corner. Aren’t you tired of the villains who pose as your buddy and sell you cheap death? Call a methadone clinic, instead, and get some real help.