Ulbricht Silk Road Trial Day 9: Evidence of $13 Million Transfer From Silk Road to Ross Ulbricht

The Defense continued their cross examination of Michael Duch, the Silk Road vendor who sold 3.18 kilograms of heroin on the site.  While the government painted the picture of a desperate man who had never sold drugs in his life prior to finding Silk Road, the defense team led by Joshua Dratel tried to bring up evidence to the contrary.  Dratel brought up a previous charge Duch had against him in 2008 for possession of drugs with attempt to distribute, but was prosecuted for the lesser charge of possession of illegal drugs.  Dratel then points out inconsistencies with his testimony and his statement to the government.  These were minor inconsistencies such as when he started doing drugs, whether or not he bought heroin on Silk Road, his statement that he started using prescription pain killers because of old sports injuries when in reality they were initially prescribed for Lyme disease, and that he started doing heroin when his doctor stopped prescribing him pain killers when really the doctor stopped prescribing them because he was using heroin.  Not necessarily damning inconsistencies but enough to seriously call his credibility and competence into question, especially given his history of drug abuse.

The government then called special agent with the F.B.I, Vincent D’Agostino.  D’Agostino was responsible for testing the malware that agent Alford testified to purchasing on Silk Road as part of a controlled buy of a “hack pack”.  The malware that was included in the hack pack consisted of software used to find passwords on infected computers, record all data on infected computers, and give the user remote control access of infected computers.  D’Agostino presented evidence of his tests and testified that all of the malware purchased as part of the hack pack worked as advertised.

Defense called former F.B.I. agent Liahwan Yum, who retired from the bureau after completing his investigation of Silk Road.  Among other things, Yum was responsible for seizing bitcoins and analyzing bitcoin transactions from both the Silk Road marketplace and Ross Ulbricht’s laptop.  Yum found almost 4,000 unique bitcoin transactions from the Silk Road bitcoin server to Ross Ulbricht amounting to $13,395,522.  In Dratel’s cross examination, Yum testifies to working on this investigation into the bitcoin transactions with another former agent who carried out about 60% of the work.  Dratel argued that since he did not do 60% of the work he testified on, his testimony is all hearsay.  Dratel motioned to have his testimony stricken from the record.  That motion was denied.

The government then called Bryan Shaw, a contractor to the F.B.I.  His job is to collect and analyze computer evidence, in this case, the seized Silk Road marketplace server’s database.  Using the database, Shaw was able to access every product listing and chat session conducted on the site.  After going through various drug, money laundering, and forgery listings, Shaw testified to his analyses of a correspondence between username She Found Me and username King of Clubs on the Silk Road marketplace messenger.  The messages had to do with She Found Me ordering 9 fake driver’s licenses from King of Clubs from 6 different states and 3 countries.  The messages included questions about the quality of the forgeries and the shipping.  The messages showed that the order never arrived, possibly due to the package being intercepted by customs.  The dates of the messages as well as the 9 IDs ordered correspond to the same 9 IDs Homeland Security questioned Ulbricht about.

From there Shaw began to testify to the messages he found and analyzed pertaining to Dread Pirate Roberts ordering the execution of a Silk Road user who threatened to expose the identities of several top sellers and thousands of buyers.  He will conclude his testimony on these messages next Monday.

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