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Silk Road founder sentenced to life in prison, and then some

Ross Ulbricht has been sentenced to a lifetime in prison for running Silk Road, once the biggest online service for illegal goods, The Guardian reports.

Before Judge Katherine Forrest imposed the sentence, family members of people that have died after overdosing on drugs bought via Silk Road, addressed the court.

“The stated purpose [of Silk Road] was to be beyond the law. In the world you created over time, democracy didn’t exist. You were captain of the ship, the dread Pirate Roberts. You made your own laws,” Forrest told Ulbricht as she read the sentence.

Ulbricht started crying and said: “I never wanted that to happen. I wish I could go back and convince myself to take a different path.” He asked the court to “leave a light at the end of the tunnel” ahead of his sentence.

Ulbricht was handed five sentences: one for 20 years, one for 15, one of five and two for life. All of them will be served concurrently with no chance of parole.

Silk Road was once the greatest online service for everything illegal – from drugs to murder.

In March 2013, Silk Road had a total of 10,000 items on sale, and 7,000 of those were drugs of all kinds. Only six months later Ulbricht was arrested and accused of running the site under the name Dread Pirate Roberts. The prosecutors have said that more than $200 million (£131m) worth of goods was sold on Silk Road, and that Ulbricht earned a total of $13,2 million (£8.66).