US brings new charges against alleged creator of Silk Road underground online drug market
By Nate Raymond
NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors have brought a trio of new charges against a Texas man accused of creating the underground online drug marketplace Silk Road ahead of his November trial.
A new indictment against Ross Ulbricht, 30, filed late on Thursday in Manhattan federal court added charges of narcotics trafficking, distribution of narcotics by means of the Internet, and conspiracy to traffic in fraudulent identification documents.
The new charges came on top of four other counts previously asserted by prosecutors of narcotics trafficking conspiracy, continuing criminal enterprise, computer hacking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy.
Ulbricht, who prosecutors said was known online as “Dread Pirate Roberts,” lost his bid to dismiss the earlier charges in July. He faces trial Nov. 3.
Prosecutors say Ulbricht owned and operated Silk Road, which they allege served as a black-market bazaar where drugs and criminal services like computer hacking and forgeries could be bought in exchange for the digital currency bitcoin.
The superseding indictment filed Thursday accused Ulbricht of personally distributing and aiding in the distributing of substances containing heroin, cocaine, LSD and methamphetamine.
It also accused Ulbricht of engaging in a conspiracy to sell fake ID documents, such as driver’s licenses and passports, on Silk Road.
Federal authorities shut down Silk Road last year, though a new Internet marketplace under the same name debuted in November.
A lawyer for Ulbricht did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The case is U.S. v. Ulbricht, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-cr-00068.
(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Tom Brown)