Silk Road founder loses appeal challenging life sentence

A court denies Ross Ulbricht's attempt to get his life-behind-bars sentence reduced.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
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Ross Ulbricht, who went by the online handle "Dread Pirate Roberts," was charged by the FBI for operating the anonymous online drug marketplace Silk Road.

Ross Ulbricht/LinkedIn

The convicted operator of the online drug bazaar Silk Road was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in 2015. He'd been hoping to overturn that sentence with an appeal.

However, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals denied his request on Wednesday in a 139-page ruling.

"Because we identify no reversible error," the three-judge panel wrote in the ruling, "we affirm Ulbricht's conviction and sentence in all respects."

Ross Ulbricht, who went by the moniker "Dread Pirate Roberts," was arrested in San Francisco on October 1, 2013. He was the alleged mastermind behind Silk Road, which was founded in 2011. Purchases on the site are said to have totaled more than $1 billion.

The Justice Department said that between November 2011 and September 2013 law enforcement agents conducted more than 100 undercover purchases of drugs from Silk Road vendors, including heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and LSD.

Ulbricht was sentenced by a jury to life in prison in February 2015. He filed an appeal to that sentence in June 2015, arguing that he wasn't offered a fair trial and his punishment was "demonstrably unreasonable."