The Silk Road Boss Allegedly Encouraged the Hells Angels to Kill a Blackmailer
Dread Pirate Roberts said that a loudmouth on Silk Road "is a liability and I wouldn’t mind if he was executed."
The trial of alleged Silk Road mastermind Ross Ulbricht took a dark turn on Thursday, as prosecutors introduced for the first time evidence of the violence the defendant was allegedly willing to use to protect his internet empire.
Brian Shaw, an FBI contractor who analyzed the Silk Road servers seized by the government, gave testimony about messages sent from Dread Pirate Roberts, who the prosecution alleges is Ulbricht, hinting at the murder-for-hire allegations that came out in pre-trial documents.
Prosecutors read aloud from forum posts and private messages found on the Silk Road site, telling the tale of how Dread Pirate Roberts supposedly was willing to have a user who went by the name FriendlyChemist killed for blackmailing him.
"In my eyes, FriendlyChemist is a liability and I wouldn't mind if he was executed," Dread Pirate Roberts wrote in one message.
The saga began in March of 2013, when FriendlyChemist made a desperate post on Silk Road seeking to speak to Dread Pirate Roberts.
"This is a matter of life and death," he wrote. When DPR replied, FriendlyChemist explained he was the supplier to lucydrop, an account that apparently sold acid. FriendlyChemist had apparently fronted lucydrop $900,000 worth of product, of which lucydrop only paid back $200,000 before disappearing.
FriendlyChemist claimed lucydrop had shown him conversations with DPR guaranteeing sales, a claim DPR denied in subsequent messages. Regardless, FriendlyChemist said, his own suppliers were now after him for the money.
"Why are you guys scamming people?" FriendlyChemist asked. "My life is in danger because of this money I owe. The people I borrowed that from are not regular people."
Those people allegedly turned out to be members of the organized crime group the Hells Angels. FriendlyChemist said they were showing up at his children's school, and he was frightened.
A later post by someone claiming to be the "reallucydrop" said his business partner, with whom he shared the lucydrop username, had scammed everyone.
"I was in jail, lucydrop is not me," the post read. "My partner fucked me over. Can you prove to [DPR] I am the real lucydrop as I do not have access to my PGP key? My entire life was taken from me and I don't know what to do. I was arrested on previous drug charges and my partner took over my account while I was in jail."
DPR messaged reallucydrop asking for FriendlyChemist's identity.
"[FriendlyChemist] claims to know you and have done business with him in person," he wrote. "Please give me his name and address, I'd like to stop him in his path. I need his real world identity so I can threaten [him] with violence. I won't be blackmailed."
Ultimately, the alleged Hells Angels members messaged DPR directly on Silk Road under the username "redandwhite," saying "We are the people FriendlyChemist owes money to." DPR passed along FriendlyChemist's identity to the Hells Angels members after suggesting he wanted him dead. The man was identified as Blake Krokoff, a 34-year-old who lived with a wife and three kids in British Columbia. The prosecution closed Thursday before revealing the fate of Krokoff.
As proceedings concluded Thursday, the prosecution presented an activity log on Ulbricht's computer that contained, word-for-word, the same personal information of FriendlyChemist.
Earlier in the day, former FBI special agent Ilhwan Yum testified about the more than 144,000 bitcoins found on Ubricht's laptop at the time of his arrest in October 2013. Yum said he used the Bitcoin wallet found on Ulbricht's computer to trace more than 4,000 unique transactions between Ulbricht and Silk Road servers.
The trial will continue on Monday, when the prosecution is expected to rest its case, and the defense will call its first witness. The defense said it will call two experts and six character witnesses. Ulbricht has not yet decided if he will testify.