Silk Road Drug Dealer Gets Prison as Dread Pirate Up Next

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A Dutch man described as the biggest drug dealer on Silk Road was ordered to serve 10 years in prison, a day before the mastermind of the illegal online marketplace is to learn his fate.

Cornelis Jan Slomp, 23, a software developer who used the moniker “SuperTrips” and sold cocaine, Ecstasy and LSD, was sentenced Thursday in Chicago after pleading guilty to drug trafficking. Prosecutors are seeking more than 20 years in prison for Ross William Ulbricht, found guilty by a jury of running Silk Road while using the online name “Dread Pirate Roberts,” when he appears before a Manhattan judge Friday.

Lawyers for both the government and Slomp extolled his cooperation with a U.S. probe of the illicit emporium. Prosecutors asked for a 15-year sentence while defense attorney Paul Petruzzi sought a term of just under six years. Federal guidelines called for a prison term of as long as 40 years.

Outside court, Petruzzi called his client’s punishment “a damn good result, if you ask me.”

Silk Road was described by federal prosecutors in New York as a “sprawling black-market bazaar” used to anonymously sell illicit goods and launder money. The Silk Road website was shut in 2013.

‘Multiple Murders’

“Ulbricht ran a massive narcotics-trafficking enterprise that dramatically lowered the barriers to obtaining illegal drugs,” prosecutors told U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in a letter Tuesday. “He was willing to use violence to protect his enterprise, as evidenced by his solicitation of multiple murders for hire in attempts to eliminate perceived threats.”

Prosecutors have claimed Ulbricht tried to arrange the murders of five people who threatened the anonymity of buyers and sellers on the site. Ulbricht, who doesn’t face charges related to those five, is charged in a separate murder-for-hire case in federal court in Baltimore.

The government also blames Ulbricht for several deaths allegedly caused by drugs sold on the site.

Ulbricht asked Forrest last week to sentence him to no more than the 20-year minimum term for his crimes, expressing regret and calling Silk Road a “naive and costly idea” that has ruined his life.

Seven Charges

Jurors found Ulbricht guilty of all seven charges against him, including conspiracy and trafficking drugs on the Internet. Ulbricht claimed in his trial that he started the site as an “economic experiment.” He said he passed control of Silk Road to someone else after a few months.

Ulbricht’s lawyer, Joshua Dratel, declined to comment on the government’s sentencing request.

An Australian man who moderated discussion forums on the site was sentenced Tuesday to the time he’s already been incarcerated, after pleading guilty to drug and money laundering charges.

U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Griesa in Manhattan permitted Peter Philip Nash to be released after spending the past 17 months in jail in Australia and the U.S.

Slomp’s case is U.S. v. Slomp, 13-cr-689, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago). Ulbricht’s case is U.S. v. Ulbricht, 14-cr-00068, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).