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Ross Ulbricht Dread Pirate Roberts Silk Road creator
Ross Ulbricht

Silk Road kingpin Ross Ulbricht convicted

The man known as Dread Pirate Roberts is found guilty on all seven charges

A Manhattan jury took only three and a half hours to decide that Ross Ulbricht is indeed Dread Pirate Roberts, the man who created and ran the infamous darknet drugs empire Silk Road, an online marketplace that also facilitated the buying and selling of weapons, counterfeit and hacking services.

Ulbricht was found guilty on seven charges, including trafficking drugs and laundering money. He will serve somewhere between 30 years and life in prison, unless his legal team successfully mounts an appeal.

Most of the evidence brought against Ulbricht came from an FBI sting carried out in October 2013. Sat in the sci-fi section of a San Francisco library (seriously, you couldn't make this up), agents watched their suspect on his Samsung laptop.

They knew that if they could get to Ulbricht before he closed the laptop, then they would probably have access to the communications of Dread Pirate Roberts, Silk Road's alleged mastermind.

If not, the closed laptop would likely have locked into an encrypted state, meaning that Ulbricht may not ever have been convicted. The FBI caught Ulbricht by surprise and managed to secure the laptop in an opened state.

That well-executed swoop has proved vital in the FBI getting their man. On the computer they found masses of evidence that pointed towards his continued involvement with Silk Road, such as a diary, log books and thousands of private chat logs.

Despite the defence team admitting that he had indeed set up the site, it attemped to argue that he had handed it over to another mastermind, at one point accusing Mark Karpeles, the founder of defunct bitcoin exchange Mt Gox.

But the weight of the evidence on that Samsung laptop was always going to prove difficult for Ulbricht's team to fight against. Ulbricht now faces a lengthy prison sentence, but goes behind bars revered by some as a man who reinvented the drugs trade and provided a foundation for darknet marketplaces to flourish.

No doubt other kingpins will learn from his mistakes (Blake Benthall aside). Despite this conviction, it's unlikely that the booming darknet drugs trade is going anywhere fast.

As Lyn, Ulbricht's loyal, doting mother said as she left the court. "This is not the end".