5th October 2013
Ross Ulbricht, the man thought to be behind the online illegal drugs marketplace Silk Road, has been refused bail at a court appearance in San Francisco today.
US prosecutors consider that he is too dangerous to be released whilst their case against him is prepared.
Ulbricht, 29, was arrested and charged earlier in the week with being the administrator of the site, which has now been shut down. In addition, he faces a charge of attempting to kill one of the site's users.
Ulbricht's lawyer Brandon LeBlanc said: "We deny all charges and that is the end of the discussion at this point." His legal team has been granted a request for a bail hearing to take place next Wednesday.
The FBI claims that Ulbricht – whose online pseudonym is 'Dread Pirate Robers' – tried to pay a user of the site known as 'FriendlyChemist' 1,670 bitcoins (worth US$150,000) to murder another user who had threatened to expose details of the site's other users.
The Silk Road sold a range of items including a wide range of illicit drugs, for which virtual payment Bitcoin was taken in payment. After is was closed down, the price of Bitcoins fell steeply.
The site was hosted on Tor (short for The Onion Ring), a 'dark web' service that makes it very difficult for authorities to track locations.