A three-judge panel says it "might not have imposed" a life sentence on Ross Ulbricht, who ran a drug-peddling website on the dark web, but that's no reason to overturn it. The appellate court on Wednesday found Ulbricht's sentence of life in prison without parole for drug trafficking, money laundering, and conspiracy was warranted given the volume of drugs sold on the Silk Road and Ulbricht's willingness to pay "large sums of money to have individuals who threatened his enterprise murdered," though no murders actually occurred, reports Wired. The ruling brings to an end a two-year fight by Ulbricht to reduce his sentence, which defense lawyers called "demonstrably unreasonable" for non-violent crimes, per USA Today.
Ulbricht, who used the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts, argued that his laptop and Facebook and Google accounts were searched illegally, per Newsweek, and that two corrupt Secret Service agents involved in the investigation—Shaun Bridges was later found to have stolen $800,000 in Bitcoin from Silk Road, while Carl Mark Force was convicted of trying to extort Ulbricht—could have planted evidence against him. However, the judges found each search carried a legal warrant and said Ulbricht presented no evidence that the investigation "was tainted in some way by the misconduct of Bridges or Force." They concluded: "Although we might not have imposed the same sentence ourselves," it is not "substantively unreasonable." (There's more to the dark web than drugs.)