Ross Ulbricht, the man charged with running Silk Road, an underground website where people bought and sold illegal drugs, appeared in a New York court today after being arrested in San Francisco more than a month ago.
The lanky 29 year old was wearing a brown-and-blue prison uniform and was clean-shaven and lucid when he spoke to the magistrate. He was transferred to New York City last night around 6PM and met his attorney, national security specialist Joshua Dratel, for the first time today.
Ulbricht has not seen his parents yet, Dratel says, but is "in good enough spirits for someone who has been in custody for a month."
"He is, to me, a poster child for bail."
The government is seeking no bail, but Dratel and US attorney Serrin Turner agreed to negotiate bail at another hearing on November 21st. "We're denying the charges," Dratel says. "He is, to me, a poster child for bail."
Dratel confirmed that the crowdfunding campaign for Ulbricht's legal defense fund is legitimate.
Ulbricht is being charged with narcotics trafficking conspiracy, computer hacking conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy. The Silk Road had servers and customers based around the world, and Ulbricht himself resides in San Francisco, but the case is being tried in the Southern District of New York. This court has a history of claiming cases with broad jurisdiction, including the bust of the top three global poker sites.
Ulbricht appeared before a California judge three weeks ago for a cursory hearing and has been sitting in jail since then. After the New York case is concluded, Ulbricht will also be indicted separately in Maryland for narcotics charges and attempted murder-for-hire.
Meanwhile, a former Silk Road forum moderator launched Silk Road 2.0 today under the name Dread Pirate Roberts, the alias the state says Ulbricht used when he ran the original site. The site, which was only accessibly through the anonymizing Tor network, was seized by the FBI on October 2nd, the day before Ulbricht was arrested.