Silk Road founder loses his appeal, will serve a life sentence for online crimes

On Wednesday, an appellate court shot down Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht’s effort to avoid spending the rest of his life behind bars. Two years ago, Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison for his role in running the dark web exchange, best known as a once-thriving online marketplace for drug transactions.

Ulbricht was sentenced in 2015 after a court found that he operated Silk Road under the pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts.” Among other lines of defense, Ulbricht’s legal team argued that IP addresses central to the case were gathered without a warrant and violated his Fourth Amendment rights, though the appeals court ultimately did not rule in his favor.

Ulbricht’s particularly harsh sentence for nonviolent crimes is largely due to the massive scale at which the Silk Road facilitated the drug trade. His charges included money laundering, conspiracy to traffic narcotics and a “kingpin” charge generally withheld for leaders of major drug cartels.