Ross Ulbricht, the 30-year-old California geek accused of running the massive underground drug market Silk Road, was logged into Silk Road's customer support control panel the moment he was arrested in a San Francisco public library, according to new court documents filed federal prosecutors. And there are the screenshots to prove it.
The filing offers new details into the forensic evidence prosecutors have that they say proves Ross Ulbricht was the mastermind of Silk Road, including snapshots of Ulbricht's laptop at the time of his arrest. According to the feds, they caught him red-handed.
Here's the support dashboard that was on Ulbricht's laptop when the FBI nabbed him, according to the filing. The user appears to be addressing a customer complaint:
A close-up of the support dashboard:
Agents looked through his browser history and found one of the sites Ulbricht had visited in the moments before his arrest was a page on Silk Road titled "Mastermind." This dashboard gave "an overview of the transactions and money moving through the site," according to the filing. Here's the screenshot:
Other pictures show that Ulbricht was also logged into a Torchat client under the name "dread," with an avatar matching that of DPR of the Silk Road:
And, as shown in the picture at the top of this post, agents found his computer was called Frosty, which was the same name as an authentication key found on the Silk Road server. Authorities also found a financial document and a Bitcoin wallet file containing 144,000 Bitcoins worth to $20 million at the time.
Other evidence found on the computer included a journal that apparently detailed Ulbricht's founding of the Silk Road, starting in 2010, in overblown prose. Here's how the filing summarizes Ulbricht's journal:
In one entry summarizing the major events of life during the year 2010, Ulbricht explained his initial efforts to start the business, writing:
"I began working on a project that had been in my mind for over a year. I was calling it Underground Brokers, but eventually settled on Silk Road. The idea was to create a website where people could buy anything anonymously, with no trail whatsoever that could lead back to them."
The journal entry goes on to describe how Ulbricht set up "a lab in a cabin . . . off the grid" where he "produced several kilos of high quality shrooms," so that he would have something to sell on the website when it first opened. Ulbricht noted that he "struggl[ed] to figure out . . . how to set it up," and that, by the end of the year, he "still didn't have a site up, let alone a server." However, he predicted that "[i]n 2011," he would be "creating a year of prosperity and power beyond what I have ever experienced before," adding: "Silk Road is going to become a phenomenon and at least one person will tell me about it, unknowing that I was its creator."
The filing, which was submitted yesterday in support of the government's argument against granting Ulbricht bail, also claims Ulbricht ordered "no fewer than six murders for hire," in order to protect Silk Road. Previously, only two had been known. Ulbricht was denied bail, and continues to sit in jail in Brooklyn.
But Ulbricht's lawyer maintains his client was not DPR. Friends and family have launched a campaign to raise funds for Ulbricht and cast doubt on the charges against him. Ulbricht's mother told Forbes' Andy Greenberg "So many things don't add up... I have full confidence in my son's innocence."