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Alleged Silk Road mastermind denied bail, accused of 4 new murders-for-hire

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Ross Ulbricht, the alleged proprietor of the Deep Web’s notorious black market, Silk Road, has been denied bail in federal court. 

In denying Ulbricht’s bail request, Judge Nathaniel Fox cited that he was accused not only of facilitating the sale of drugs online, but of attempting on two occasions to hire a hitman to kill a Silk Road user.

On top of that, the prosecution now alleges that Ulbricht, known online as Dread Pirate Roberts, was involved in at least four additional murder-for-hire plots. "It wasn't just online talk, it wasn't just pretend," Assistant U.S. Attorney Serrin Turner said. "Just because it was on the computer doesn't make it any less of a crime."

Ulbricht had previously been accused of hiring a hitman to eliminate a witness and a Silk Road vendor who was blackmailing Ulbricht and Silk Road's users. After an FBI examination of a seized Silk Road server and Ulbricht's personal computer, prosecutors now say the alleged black market tycoon also tried to arrange hits on one of blackmailer’s associates and three people who lived with him. That brings the total of Dread Pirate Roberts' alleged murders for hire to 6. 

The judge based the decision to deny bail on the fact that only a quarter of the estimated $80 million in Bitcoin Ulbricht allegedly made from the Silk Road has been recovered, giving the defendant ample “means to flee.”

Ulbricht was arrested in early October. A defense fund has since been established with the aim of raising $500,000 for his court fees.

Photo by stevensnodgrass/Flickr (Remix by Fernando Alfonso III)