A judge in the Federal District Court in Manhattan sentenced Silk Road founder and UTD alumnus Ross Ulbricht to life in prison on Friday, May 29.
Following a three-week trial, Ulbricht was found guilty on Feb. 9 on seven charges, including conspiracies to sell drugs, launder money and hack computers, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Silk Road, an online drug dealing market, operated for two years in the dark web, or the online underground, amassing millions of dollars in transactions.
Ulbricht, who graduated from UTD in 2006 with a degree in physics, admitted to creating the website because he believed that people should have the right to buy and sell whatever they wanted as long as they didn’t harm anyone else. He said, however, that he had done nothing wrong on the website.
Joshua Dratel, the counsel representing Ulbricht, said in his filings to the judge that the website was better than traditional drug dealers because it averted the deadly drug wars that so often resulted in violence and death.
While Ulbricht faced a minimum of 20 years in prison, the defense counsel had hoped that the 31-year-old would be spared his old age.
However, Judge Katherine Forrest, who delivered the sentence, said that the website was harmful to society’s fabric, according to The New York Times.
The prosecution had earlier asked to increase Ulbricht’s sentence to more than 20 years so as to deter others like him and to set an example. The father of a boy who had died of an overdose after allegedly buying heroin of off Silk Road said at the hearing that he believed his son would be alive if not for the website.
Dratel said the sentence was unreasonable and he would appeal it as well as the original guilty verdict, The Journal report stated.