US prosecutors have brought new charges against the man accused of creating the underground online drug marketplace Silk Road.
Charges of narcotics trafficking, distribution of narcotics by means of the Internet, and conspiracy to traffic in fraudulent identification documents have been added to a new indictment against Ross Ulbricht, 30, filed in Manhattan federal court ahead of the accused’s November trial.
The trio of new charges come on top of four other counts previously asserted by prosecutors of narcotics trafficking conspiracy, continuing criminal enterprise, computer hacking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy.
Prosecutors say Ulbricht owned and operated Silk Road, which they allege served as a black-market bazaar where drugs and criminal services like computer hacking and forgeries could be bought in exchange for the digital currency bitcoin.
Ulbricht, who prosecutors said was known online as "Dread Pirate Roberts," lost his bid to dismiss the earlier charges in July. The superseding indictment filed Thursday accused Ulbricht, who faces trial on November 3, of personally distributing and aiding in the distributing of substances containing heroin, cocaine, LSD and methamphetamine.
It also accused Ulbricht of engaging in a conspiracy to sell fake ID documents, such as driver's licenses and passports, on Silk Road.
Federal authorities shut down Silk Road last year, though a new Internet marketplace under the same name debuted in November.
Ulbricht's lawyer Joshua Dratel said: "The superseding indictment has added certain charges but, according to the government, does not change the nature of the evidence or require additional discovery.
"If that is true, and it's too early for us to draw a conclusion having just received it yesterday, these additional charges simply demonstrate the government's penchant for converting a single alleged course of conduct into a set of multiple similar, interchangeable charges in an effort to improve its chances of having a jury, overwhelmed by the sheer number of charges, agree with the government on at least one."