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Cases Involving the Silk Road

Interviewer: Have you been running into any cases that are all related to buying things online illegally?

William Kroger: Yes. I actually have a couple of cases right now where I have been hired as the representing synthetic drug lawyer in Los Angeles that involve Silk Road and involve the Silk Road 2 and involve the Black Market Reloaded. One of them has been charged in federal court and two are pending charges in state court. My client in federal court is looking at life because of his prior history but when he was arrested, he had several ounces of methamphetamine, several ounces of heroin and several ounces of marijuana on him. He had everything that you could possibly want if you were the recreational or habitual drug user.

The Common Criminal Offenses Related to Silk Road and Similar Websites

Interviewer: What kind of crimes have the people you have seen involved with this have been charged with?

William Kroger: Conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. I've seen possession with the intent to sell controlled substances, actual sales of the controlled substance, there's weapons charges, fraud charges, and it also involves the online sales of drugs through one of those websites. When the courts do see them, they're not really happy that people are doing this online. You could go on today if you're able to go on at the Tor browser and you knew what website to go to, you can buy anything you want and have it in the mail, maybe even delivered on a Sunday like with Amazon.

The Government is Concerned About Illegal Activities Being Performed Online

I know you can gift stuff shifted to them and deliver it on Sunday, and you probably could with one of these websites but you can get it overnight essentially, any kind of drug you want. The problem the government has is there might be some 14-year old kid ordering up some methamphetamine or some heroin or even some cigarettes or marijuana or whatever and it's going to come to him in the mail and nobody is going to know about it. In fact, we have cases like that where the package was supposed to be delivered to this kid but his dad was the one who took the package and that's how the case started.

The Potential Avenues of Viable Defense in Silk Road Related Cases

Interviewer: Where do you anticipate you're going to look for defense in these kinds of cases?

William Kroger: We crunch the numbers and we get our own computer experts to analyze the scrape the data that the government is using to tie our clients to the packages. We have to trace them back and try to poke holes in their case. How do we know this IP address belongs to our client? What is the chain of custody? The big problem for the government is they're not going to be able to substantiate how many packages they sent unless they find ledgers as most sophisticated clients encrypt their data.

Most of the People Arrested in Conjunction With Silk Road Cases Possessed Illegal Substances in Substantial Quantities

Most of these people are pretty smart and although their computers are encrypted and they think they're password protected, the government will probably get through those passwords and their encryption and they'll find out all the records. The main problem is that most of them, when they get caught, they have a good supply of controlled substance on them whether it's in their apartment or it's in their car, they've got it. In some cases, I've seen the government go in and find their Bitcoins wallets and take the Bitcoins and seize those as well.

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