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| June 26, 2019

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He Disappeared on a Road Trip. Now, a New Development

June 22, 2019 |

It’s not the news the family and friends of David Gordon Johnson had been hoping for. Per the New York Post and CNN , the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office reported Friday that a body was found Thursday in the Mokelumne River, near the inlet of a lake, north of Valley Springs,…
Newser

CNN

Transgender driver chases 24-hour road race dream

June 14, 2019 |

Standing amid the fevered atmosphere of the Le Mans 24 Hour race, Charlie Martin had an epiphany.
CNN.com – RSS Channel – World

‘Old Town Road’ Sparks ‘Miracle’ for Autistic Boy

June 10, 2019 |

“I was crying so hard that tears were dropping on his head. I was like, ‘This is the beginning. This is the light!'” So says a Minnesota mom after the hit song “Old Town Road” appeared to transform her autistic son’s life, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Sheletta Brundidge, the…
Newser

‘Old Town Road’ sparks breakthrough when mostly nonverbal autistic boy sings along, mom says

June 9, 2019 |

More than just a catchy tune, “Old Town Road” gave one Minnesota family a miracle.
FOX News

Plea Bargain Means Silk Road 2 Admin Will Likely See No Prison Time

June 1, 2019 |

Plea Bargain Shows Silk Road 2 Admin Will Likely See No Prison Time

Following the sentencing of Thomas White, the founder of the Silk Road 2 (SR2) marketplace during the first week of April, another SR2 administrator may evade prosecution. According to reports, SR2 admin Blake Benthall cooperated with global law enforcement and may only face fines for avoiding taxes. The news of the two SR2 admins’ sentences further aggrieved Ross Ulbricht’s family who believe there’s a disparity between their son’s double life sentence and others who have seen minimal charges.

Also read: Silk Road 2 Founder Finally Sentenced 5 Years After His Arrest

SR2 Admin ‘Defcon’ Gets a Slap on the Wrist — No Jail and Tax Fines

Ross Ulbricht has been in jail for years, having been sentenced to double life in prison with no chance of parole for his role with the original Silk Road (SR) marketplace. After the underground market was shut down, a slew of other darknet marketplaces (DNM) appeared and picked up where the first SR left off. One of these markets was Silk Road 2 and the founder even called himself the Dread Pirate Roberts 2. The DNM was eventually taken down by law enforcement and a few vendors and admins were arrested during the investigation.

Thomas White (DPR2) and Blake Benthall (Defcon) were both arrested but they both were also let out on bail since their initial arrests. White was recently sentenced to five years in prison but spent the last few years living normally and even using the name ‘The Cthulhu’ online to comment on tech articles that dealt with subjects like privacy and Tor. No one really knew what happened to Benthall and it seemed he escaped the punishment of the court system.

Plea Bargain Means Silk Road 2 Admin Will Likely See No Prison Time
Blake Benthall aka Defcon, a Silk Road 2 admin.

However, according to a document obtained by Motherboard, Benthall worked with law enforcement and will likely get off with no prison time. “If the defendant fully complies with the understandings specified in this agreement, he will not be further prosecuted criminally by this Office for any crimes, except for criminal tax violations,” the document from the Assistant United States Attorney details. The record also states that if Benthall cooperates “no testimony or other information given by him will be used against him in any criminal tax prosecution.” Basically Benthall will be required to pay the taxes he did not pay throughout 2013 and 2014 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, but otherwise he will remain a free man.

Plea Bargain Means Silk Road 2 Admin Will Likely See No Prison Time
Blake Benthall has been out of jail since his initial arrest in 2014.

Ulbricht Family Sees a ‘Grotesque Sentencing Disparity’ Between Other DNM Admins and the Double Life Sentence Ross Received

Benthall’s state prosecutors and his defense team declined to comment to the press about the recent document. After hearing the news, the Ulbricht family was upset to see another DNM admin get a slap on the wrist compared to their son’s draconian sentencing. The Free Ross Twitter account spoke up about the subject after the news of Benthall’s deal was made public. “But wait, I thought if you ran a Silk Road you were too dangerous to ever be let out of a cage — I’m so confused,” the Free Ross account tweeted. So far there’s been a significant sentencing disparity between Ross and the many other DNM admins and creators. For instance, SR’s biggest drug dealer, Jon Slomp, only received 10 years, the two corrupt federal agents Carl Force and Sean Bridges only saw 6-8 years, and then Thomas White was only given a 5-year sentence.

Plea Bargain Means Silk Road 2 Admin Will Likely See No Prison Time

The family is shocked by the “grotesque disparity between Ross’s life sentence” and have emphasized that “it is wildly excessive and disproportionate to those imposed on others for similar, or worse, conduct.”

“Ross, a young, first-time offender, was never prosecuted for causing harm or bodily injury, and no victim was named at trial,” the Freeross.org website states in regard to the sentencing inconsistencies for DNM operators and vendors. “All his charges at trial were non-violent — His walking death sentence is grossly excessive and disproportionate, and its injustice is manifest.” The family further underscored:

Such a sentencing disparity flies in the face of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and the Sentencing Reform Act.

The Ulbricht family has started a petition on Change.org in order to get U.S. President Donald Trump to pardon Ross. At press time, 170,539 people have signed the petition and the family is hoping to get a lot more signatures.

What do you think about Blake Benthall (Defcon) not getting any jail time while Ross Ulbricht got two life sentences? Do you think there is a problem with the sentencing disparity between these individuals? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Bitcoin Wiki, and Freeross.org.


Express yourself freely at Bitcoin.com’s user forums. We don’t censor on political grounds. Check forum.Bitcoin.com

The post Plea Bargain Means Silk Road 2 Admin Will Likely See No Prison Time appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Jim Bullion: Afghanistan must not become a terrorist haven — Here’s a road map for talks with the Taliban

May 20, 2019 |

Negotiations with the Taliban must ensure that Afghanistan does not become a haven for terrorists as the U.S. military presence on the ground shrinks.
FOX News

$30K Spills on Road. And Authorities Want It Back

April 27, 2019 |

Police in Michigan are appealing to people to surrender their instant riches after a box with $ 30,000 fell off the back of a truck, the AP reports. Authorities in Grand Haven say drivers stopped Thursday to pick up cash for themselves. Officers closed the US 31 but only $ 2,…
Newser

Left to Die by Side of Road, Dog Has Happy Homecoming

April 22, 2019 |

Cedar is home again, much bigger and on the mend. The German shepherd disappeared two years ago from the backyard of her home in Southwest Ranches, Fla., when she was just 4 months old, reports WSVN . The Peterson family heard nothing about Cedar until this month, when a deputy across…
Newser

Silk Road 2 Founder Finally Sentenced 5 Years After His Arrest

April 12, 2019 |

Silk Road 2 Founder Finally Sentenced After His Arrest in 2014

Immediately after the Silk Road was taken down in 2013, a marketplace known as the Silk Road 2 launched. The new darknet market was run by a person who called himself the Dread Pirate Roberts 2 and he was arrested a few months later in November 2014. However, privacy advocate Thomas White, otherwise known as DPR2, was released on bail for the next five years and has only now been sentenced to 64 months in jail.

Also read: Wikileaks Bitcoin Donations Soar Following Assange Arrest

Silk Road 2 Founder Sentenced

The founder of the notorious Silk Road 2 marketplace has been sentenced to prison this week for operating the illegal website for over a year. Thomas White was known as DPR2 when he ran the underground marketplace Silk Road 2 back in 2014. SR2 was not affiliated with the original Silk Road (SR) but popped up on the invisible web roughly 30 days after SR was seized in October 2013. Similarly to the original, SR2 sold narcotics, fake ID cards, counterfeit merchandise, credit cards, and software. Law enforcement said that SR2 made roughly $ 8 million every month after it launched for a year.

Silk Road 2 Founder Finally Sentenced 5 Years After His Arrest

Law enforcement wasted no time investigating the newly created SR2 and arrested both White (a.k.a. ‘St Exo’ or ‘DPR2’) and Blake Benthall (a.k.a. ‘Defcon’) a year later in November 2014. However, White has been out on bail since his arrest and has remained in the public eye over the last five years. Benthall was charged with conspiracy to traffic narcotics and was released and has yet to be sentenced by any courts.

Silk Road 2 Founder Finally Sentenced 5 Years After His Arrest
Silk Road 2 creators mocking U.S. law enforcement.

According to multiple SR2 vendors and law enforcement officials, the website grew fast because of people’s admiration for the original SR and its leader the Dread Pirate Roberts. An investigator from the National Crime Agency (NCA), Paul Chowles, told the media this week that White told his band of companions that he would stop using his St Exo monicker and start calling himself DPR2. “DPR2, aka Thomas White, was the boss. He was the controlling mind in all of this, and he was the one driving it forward,” Chowles explained in a recent interview.

“Dread Pirate Roberts is now immortal and if you devote yourself to that ideal, and our enemies cannot stop it, then the idea becomes something else entirely,” DPR2 stated in 2014. The post continued:

They may have sunk one ship, but now they have awoken the kraken.

Silk Road 2 Founder Finally Sentenced 5 Years After His Arrest

Ulbricht Family Underscores the Contrast Between White’s Punishment and the Much Harsher Sentencing Ross Received

Reports detail that after White was released on bail, he also used the name ‘The Cthulhu’ online and commented regularly on tech articles, forums, and became known as a privacy expert. He also ran a few websites that focused on data breaches and ran numerous Tor nodes as well. Motherboard attempted to talk with White this week but he declined and also deleted his Cthulhu profile. White pleaded guilty for his involvement with the SR2 website which involved charges of money laundering and MDMA distribution. According to the courts, in Germany alone White earned 1% commission off $ 143,000 worth of class A drug sales stemming from the region. The NCA also revealed that White owned around 50 BTC ($ 255,000) at the time of his arrest in 2014.

Silk Road 2 Founder Finally Sentenced 5 Years After His Arrest

The case was a combined effort between U.S. law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, the Justice Department, and Homeland Security. But the SR2 server was identified by the government-funded Carnegie Mellon University’s Scientific Engineering Institute, which unmasked many Tor services that year. After the unmasking, the FBI and other three-letter agencies gained access to a large cache of IP addresses stemming from SR2 participants and other darknet markets. From here, law enforcement discovered White’s role as DPR2 and that Blake Benthall coded the website.

DPR2 did an exclusive interview with Motherboard reporter Jason Cox back when the site was raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars a day. DPR2 recounted the day he decided to launch SR2 and how he was extremely anxious when he published the site on the deep web. “I had the URL ready to launch,” DPR2 explained to Cox. “I think I must have sat there for five minutes staring at the screen. Once you hit that enter button, you’ve just launched something that you know there is going to be an absolutely fucking huge manhunt after you.”

Silk Road 2 Founder Finally Sentenced 5 Years After His Arrest

The Thomas White (DPR2) sentencing also affected the lives of Ross Ulbricht’s family members when they heard the news. With White being sentenced to five years and another SR2 admin Brian Farrell sentenced to eight, the Ulbricht family believes it is unfair that Ross is serving a double life sentence for his role in the original Silk Road. “Please sign Ross’s petition for clemency,” explained Freeross.org on Twitter this week. “This is his sixth year in prison, he deserves a second chance.” The tweet also displayed a picture of Ross sentenced to double life in prison and a picture of Thomas White sentenced to only five years. Moreover, the picture shared on Twitter shows how the SR2 marketplace run by White was filled with child pornography, which was something strictly prohibited on the original Silk Road market. White is required to register as a sex offender for 10 years in addition to his five-year prison sentence.

What do you think about the sentencing of Thomas White a.k.a. DPR2? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Twitter, and Wiki Commons.


Express yourself freely at Bitcoin.com’s user forums. We don’t censor on political grounds. Check forum.Bitcoin.com

The post Silk Road 2 Founder Finally Sentenced 5 Years After His Arrest appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

John Rich speaks out on Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’ after Billy Ray Cyrus hops on remix: ‘Let the fans decide’

April 6, 2019 |

John Rich is weighing in on the musical controversy surrounding “Old Town Road” and whether or not it deserves to live among country music’s biggest hits.
FOX News