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Murder for hire Charges against Convicted Silk Road founder Dropped

A motion has been filed to drop all unresolved charges against Ross Ulbricht.  According to reports, U.S. Attorney Hur sought “to dismiss with prejudice the indictment and superseding indictment.” In a released statement, Hur stated the federal charges were dismissed in Maryland, so to “redirect resources to other cases that were unresolved.”

Ulbricht is currently serving a double life sentence without a parole after he was convicted for charges including money laundering, drug trafficking, cyber-related crimes and also his role in the now-defunct dark web marketplace Silk Road. The 34-year-old Ross Ulbricht from Austin Texas, a former Boy Scout and physics graduate, hid behind the monikers “Dread Pirate Roberts” , “Frosty” & “Altoid” on the dark web community while he controlled the dark web marketplace, Silk Road from 2011 to 2013.

He was arrested in 2013 and was given five prison sentences in February 2015, which were all to be served simultaneously. He was also ordered to surrender over $183 million in addition to his prison sentence, which the prosecution stated to be an estimated amount of all proceeds from the sales of illegal drugs and other items on his dark web marketplace. During his sentencing, Ulbricht told the Judge that he was not a bad person, just that he wanted to allow people to make choices in their lives, and to have anonymity and privacy.

Ulbricht in another sealed indictment, was also accused of hiring a hitman on Silk Road to take care of an employee he believed to have stolen from him. Allegedley, Ulbricht was ready to pay the alleged hitman, who turned out to be undercover cop, a sum of $80,000 for his services and told him “I’d like him beat up,” which he changed the following day “to execute rather than torture”. Those charges, however, were not part of the crimes he was convicted of, and he was never charged with them, while they were still taken in consideration at his sentenceing in  what considered to be an unprecedented misjustice.

Ulbricht was unsuccessful in his attempt to taste freedom again in June after the U.S. Supreme Court denied his appeal petition for a writ of certiorari. Ulbricht and his legal team in his petition stressed on the fact that, his Fourth and Sixth Amendment rights were violated in the process of the investigation and the sentencing that followed. Ulbricht also commented on his alleged murder-for-hire allegations, saying that, it influenced the judge’s decision to hand him an unreasonable sentence. Ulbricht’s petition was however deemed not good enough to command a hearing, meaning the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit’s May 2017 decision, which dismissed Ulbricht’s claims of unfair trial, still stands.

Just after Ulbricht was sentenced, his legal team made it public that they were going to appeal the ruling due to revelations they had uncovered in the investigations. According to them, two corrupt agents of the Drug Enforcement Agency who took part in the investigations of Silk Road allegedly stole millions in bitcoins and also blackmailed Ulbricht. However, the judge on the case quickly brushed it aside on the basis that, those accused agents were based in Baltimore and did not have a hand in the investigation which led to the closure of the dark web marketplace.

Just recently, Ulbricht and his legal team organized a petition for a presidential pardon on Change.org, dubbed the #FreeRossPetition, in efforts to get his ruling overturned by the U.S. President Donald J. Trump. The petition has since had over 50,000 signatures.

The Libertarian Party at an annual convention this month also requested that the President pardon Ulbricht. According to Darryl Perry, chair of the party, a presidential pardon is the only way of Ulbricht getting out of prison, because of the extent of his ruling.

Silk Road dark web marketplace was shut down in 2013 by the FBI. The website had about 957,079 registered clients, according to reports and was earning $30 to $45 million in revenue annually.

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