Silk Road user gets 6 years for Internet drug offenses

A 33-year-old Maryland man will serve six years in prison after being convicted of drug offenses related to the online bazaar Silk Road. The Edgewood man has an embattled personal history, including arrests, mental health issues and drug abuse woes. The defendant was one of the first online dealers to be arrested and charged for drug offenses in connection with the Silk Road enterprise.

Authorities say that the man was initially taken into custody in 2012. He was accused of selling heroin and the synthetic drug methylone. Dealers on the Silk Road site were reportedly protected by a software program that confounded investigators’ efforts to identify individual users. The use of bitcoin, an online currency, also blocked investigators’ efforts to identify drug distributors through the system.

The man has already spent about two-and-a-half years behind bars in the Chesapeake Detention Facility, which is a federal facility in the heart of Baltimore. His defense attorney says that the defendant has suffered difficulties at this facility, having being beaten severely after an altercation with another inmate. However, the man has been active while in the lockup, putting his computer knowledge to use by creating software to help other inmates learn more about their own incarceration.

This case is a landmark conviction because it deals with the online drug distribution that has become so prevalent in domestic and international forums. Silk Road was one of the most controversial Internet sites of its day, until the operator, known through his online nickname Dread Pirate Roberts, was taken into custody in October 2013. Authorities say that the site was particularly dangerous because it promoted drug use among people who otherwise would not have been able to obtain such substances. Criminal defendants who are facing allegations of drug offenses through Internet sites may need a specialized defense strategy that addresses the specific nature of their alleged violations.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Silk Road drug dealer gets six years prison” Ian Duncan, Sep. 05, 2014