DRUGS

Weed Was Most Popular Drug Sold By Ross Ulbricht And Silk Road

Ross Ulbricht was handed a life sentence Friday for running a site that had some $220 million in drug deals. Weed was the most common transaction.

May 29, 2015 at 6:59 AM ET

Ross Ulbricht was sentenced Friday to life in prison for his role in running the now-defunct Dark Net drug market Silk Road.

The 31-year-old Ulbricht last week asked the judge “to please leave me my old age,” while prosecutors pushed for a more “substantial” sentence with the hopes of setting a precedent for future Dark Net drug cases. Six people fatally overdosed on drugs federal prosecutors say were purchased on Silk Road, which will undoubtedly factor into his sentencing.

Ulbricht was found guilty in February of narcotics, computer hacking and conspiracy charges after a months-long battle with the U.S. government that also involved dozens of other Silk Road arrests across three different continents. Ulbricht created an online marketplace for people to make drug deals anonymously, and lots of people around the world seized the opportunity. Interestingly, the drug most commonly sold on Silk Road was plain-old marijuana, according to a federal database detailing the scope of Ulbricht’s crimes. That makes some sense, given that far more people use marijuana than, say, heroin. But it’s notable that the most popular drug in a clandestine online marketplace is one that has been legalized in several states, decriminalized in several more and is easily attainable in just about any town or city in America.

On Thursday, one of the top sellers of drugs on Silk Road, a Dutch man named Cornelius Sloop, received a 10-year prison sentence. Sloop, who went by the online name “SuperTrips,” made $170 million in bitcoin from his drug sales.

In its 2013 indictment, the federal government estimated that roughly $1.2 billion in illegal drug transactions took place on Silk Road. But it turns out that estimate overshot the reality by hundreds of millions of dollars. According to the federal database, more than $220 million worth of merchandise was traded on Silk Road during its two years of existence, and the vast majority of the sales were drugs like heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana.

Marijuana transactions totaled more than $46 million on Silk Road, while heroin sales were worth about $8.9 million. Cocaine was the most lucrative per transaction, with 82,582 transactions worth a total of $17.4 million. Hallucinogenic mushrooms, meth, LSD, MDMA (ecstacy) and pain killers like Oxycodone and Fentanyl were also part of the Silk Road mix.

Read More:

Popular Dark Net Drug Market Vanishes With Billions In Bitcoins (Vocativ)
Massive Spike In Deaths By Heroin Overdose (Vocativ)