The Guardian reports that Silk Road operator Ross William Ulbricht is facing a slew of new charges, filed Thursday in Manhattan federal court.
They include narcotics trafficking, distribution of narcotics by means of the internet and conspiracy to traffic in fraudulent identification documents.
The charges are in addition to the existing four: narcotics trafficking conspiracy, continuing criminal enterprise, computer hacking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. The previous drug trafficking charges were only for conspiracy to violate such laws, whereas the latest charges allege that he indeed did so.
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The indictment alleges that he personally distributed substances containing heroin, cocaine, LSD and methamphetamine. These new accusations would obviate arguments against the applicability of drug trafficking laws to the operation of an online marketplace, whereby the operator is technically not active in the transactions taking place. Ulbricht’s lawyer, Josh Dratel, made such an argument in a 64-page motion several months ago.
It remains to be seen if prosecutors indeed dug up new evidence against Ulbricht, or have genuinely re-evaluated the nature of the alleged crimes- or if they are merely trying to inflate the charge count to overwhelm a jury, as alleged by Dratel.
Ulbricht has denied all charges. The case goes to trial in November.