The big question that lingers in everybody’s mind, from time to time, is—What really happens to convicted darknet kingpins? Where do they end up eventually?
Well, history has judged criminals harshly, and it has never been kind to convicted dark web masterminds either.
Telling by the stern prison sentences served to those associated with the dark web, it is clear that the apprehension of darknet criminals always sends the culprits to ruin.
Nonetheless, in an interesting turn of events, Ross Ulbricht, the imprisoned founder of Silk Road, has established an aggressive Twitter campaign to fulfil his interests.
Right behind the walls of prison, Ulbricht has been dictating messages to his family, which would then be conveyed to the world via Twitter.
An Active Twitter Account
The Twitter account was first put up in June. It has been operational under the username, @RealRossU, and appears to have first tweeted on July 19.
To clear all doubt concerning authenticity of the Twitter account, the first post was linked to a handwritten note found on the website FreeRoss.org.
The account indicates that the posted tweets are products of dictations made by the imprisoned man.
Furthermore, a close look reveals an overwhelmingly popular following. At just over 21,000 followers, Ulbricht seems determined to lead an online legion of dedicated supporters that will help him achieve his objectives.
In a nutshell, through a tweet, Ulbricht declared that the account was created to allow him a connection to the outside.
Still, the content of posted tweets is variable, ranging from his daily prison life to calm messages citing the consequential case that sent him to prison.
In fact, one of the tweets indicated that Ulbricht has forgiven the judge who handed him the life sentence.
You May Be Wondering—But Why a Twitter Account?
The creation of Ulbricht’s Twitter account happened at the same time with the establishment of a petition call for his clemency.
This was, by all right, a strategy to swing public opinion in his favor as a threshold to the walk to freedom (See below).
It is also noteworthy to realize that the FreeRoss.org website was created by Ulbricht’s mother, Lyn.
As indicated in our interview with her back in May, Lyn has been Ross’ chief advocate over the years, working to rally support for the courts to reconsider his sentence.
So far, these efforts seem to be gaining traction. Ulbricht’s Twitter account has amassed an impressive following and, as of Thursday evening, his petition posted on Change.org had reached nearly 70,000 signatures.
The results of Ulbricht’s online campaign is well reflected through his tweets. In several posts, Ulbricht expressed his gratitude to supporters for their love and support over time. In the same breath, he declared his confidence for achieving the goal of drawing the U.S. President’s attention to his endeavor for freedom.
From Darknet Visionary to Prisoner
Ulbricht, 34, was apprehended by authorities back in October 2013 on suspicions associating him with the foundation and operation of Silk Road, the first modern darknet market.
At its peak, Silk Road’s value had run into millions of dollars, with annual turnovers of over $30 million.
Court papers indicated that the Silk Road platform was mainly supported by the trade in banned substances.
Additionally, the court established that Ulbricht, alias Dread Pirate Roberts, ruled with an iron fist and was partly responsible for injustices that culminated from operating the marketplace.
He was later convicted in 2015 of money laundering, computer hacking and conspiracy to traffic narcotics.
Ulbricht’s court case came to be described by some as a classic example of judicial fury, as he was handed one of the longest sentences permissible by law—a double life sentence plus 40 years, without the possibility of parole.
A study of Ulbricht’s Twitter account and the website FreeRoss.org illuminates intricate details to the prisoner’s call-for-petition campaign.
The preliminary messages found in the website describe Ulbricht as a man that lacks a criminal history, and who was a victim of a rather harsh trial.
It goes on to mention the faults in the judicial system for making such a decision despite the absence of violent charges.
This deemed unfair argument is backed by information regarding the real purport of the Silk Road platform.
Still, the argument maintains that all manner of Silk Road dealings did not warrant the harsh conviction of only one player—Ulbricht.
The website sharply maintains that Ulbricht’s case was riddled by judicial malfunction, corruption and violations.
FreeRoss.org expresses its disappointment in the Supreme Court’s recent decision in June to deny Ulbricht an appeal.
It maintains that this reality highlights the fact that the court chose to deny the prisoner a fair trial since it ended Ulbricht’s chances for direct appeal.
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