Day two of the Ross Ulbricht trial saw testimony from Jared Deryeghiayan, an undercover Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agent.
Deryeghiayan relayed the story of how he managed to penetrate into the deepest layers of the Silk Road network. He took over the accounts of both buyers and sellers, presumably users that had been previously arrested and cooperated with law enforcement to lessen their punishment. He, in fact, made more than fifty purchases of drugs.
He later took over the account of “Cirrus,” a moderator from Silk Road’s user forums. He was paid about $1,000 a week in bitcoins, which were converted to dollars and seized by the government.
When the agent suspected Ulbricht as “Dread Pirate Roberts” (DPR), they made their way over to San Francisco and tracked his online status closely. The goal of their mission was to catch Ulbricht red-handed, logged in as DPR.
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When Ulbricht reached the library where he was later arrested, Deryeghiayan started a carefully planned conversation to ensure Ulbricht was logged in:
can you check out one of the flagged messages for me?
dread: you did bitcoin exchange before you worked for me, right?
cirrus: yes, but just for a little bit
dread: not any more than that?
cirrus: no, I stopped because of reporting requirements
dread: damn regulators, eh?
oh, which post?
cirrus: lol, yep
dread: there was the one with the atlantis
It was at that moment FBI agents moved in, making sure to first seize Ulbricht’s laptop and then make the arrest.
While the defense has acknowledged Ulbricht as Silk Road’s creator, they contest his role as the “true DPR”, arguing he was duped into taking over leadership of the site when the previous DPR’s detected trouble. The question will now be if their argument still holds water after yesterday’s revelations.