When Ross Ulbricht was found guilty for administering the darknet marketplace known as the Silk Road, it marked the beginning of a campaign by supporters to at least lessen the then 30-year-old’s life sentence.
In October 2013, Mr. Ulbricht was working at the San Francisco Public Library when he was surrounded by federal agents who detained him. Sent to New York to face trial for running the darknet marketplace, Mr. Ulbricht was swiftly found guilty.
In the weeks after the guilty verdict, increasingly worrisome circumstances regarding the case surfaced, such as corruption of lead investigators with the Drug Enforcement Agency, who exploited their unique position for personal gain and potentially spoiled the investigation. Law enforcement and prosecutors vehemently disagree with such assertions.
The arrest of her son turned Lyn Ulbricht into an activist, and thousands of people, mostly libertarian-types who believe Mr. Ulbricht’s sentence is a symptom of a failed War on Drugs, fell into line with their support.
A most recent campaign by the “Free Ross” camp is an “Art 4 Ross,” which taps into Mr. Ulbricht’s own interest in drawing and the arts.
Using the hashtag “#Art4Ross” on Twitter, dozens of individuals have shared their art for Mr. Ulbricht. The campaign, which started in August at the annual libertarian-leaning festival Porcfest in New Hampshire, has not received much press, includes a diverse array of drawings and photos.
The art campaign has picked up steam in the last week on Twitter, just as news surfaced that the Dread Pirate Roberts account, which Mr. Ulbricht is convicted of using for the administration of the Silk Road, was active even after his arrest in San Francisco. Ms. Ulbricht made an official statement on the finding:
Ms. Ulbricht made an official statement on the finding:
…we only know the tip of the iceberg regarding the corruption in this case. This week we have seen another big chunk of ice revealed: evidence tampering and apparently at least one additional DPR. If this back-up of the forum database had not been saved or discovered; if log-ins made by DPR after Ross’ arrest were not found, no one would be the wiser. This begs the question: how much more is there? Unfortunately we may never know, as it’s the nature of digital evidence that it’s easily changed, planted or deleted without a trace. That my son — or anyone — would get a life sentence without parole based on vulnerable digital evidence, especially when it’s been corrupted, is a travesty of justice.
While such details of his case surface on the outside, Mr. Ulbricht has been busy on the inside making art of his own. His family has in fact exhibited some of Mr. Ulbricht’s prison art in order to raise funds for his defense.