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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Silk Road Vendor Sentenced to Two Years In Prison

Sold Drugs, Guns and Counterfeit Currency Using the Online Marketplace Silk Road

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced a former drug vendor on the Silk Road website, Sheldon Kennedy, age 25, of Lincoln, Nebraska, today to two years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiracy to traffic in controlled substances, including cocaine.  Kennedy sold drugs via an online marketplace called Silk Road.  Silk Road served as an online, international marketplace for users to buy and sell controlled substances, false identifications, and other contraband over the Internet.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Andre Watson of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Assistant Special Agent in Charge Don A. Hibbert of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office; Postal Inspector in Charge David G. Bowers of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service - Washington Division; Special Agent in Charge William P. McMullan of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Baltimore Field Division; Special Agent in Charge Brian Murphy of the United States Secret Service - Baltimore Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Thomas Jankowski of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office.

According to his plea agreement, Kennedy, using an online nickname, made contact with buyers via Silk Road, accepted payment electronically through Silk Road, and shipped drugs via the United States Postal Service to buyers throughout the United States and in foreign countries. Kennedy paid a fee to the owner and operator of Silk Road, Ross William Ulbricht, for each transaction on the website. In 2012, federal agents in Maryland made several undercover purchases of drugs from Kennedy, which Kennedy shipped to Maryland. Kennedy also sold counterfeit currency and firearms.  For instance, in May 2012 an undercover agent purchased a Glock 26 pistol from Kennedy.  Kennedy disassembled the weapon and sent it to the undercover agent in two separate shipments to make it more difficult to detect.  He made both shipments from Nebraska to an undercover mailbox in Maryland.

On June 28, 2013, a federal search warrant was executed at Kennedy’s residence in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Kennedy was at home when the search warrant was executed and agreed to speak to law enforcement.  Kenney admitted to that he used an online alias to sell drugs, guns, and counterfeit currency on Silk Road, including cocaine, LSD, and several other synthetic and prescription controlled substances.  He also admitted that the chemicals and laboratory equipment in his residence were to manufacture phenazepam, a controlled substance.  During the execution of the warrant, agents recovered ten firearms and various controlled substances, including Barbital powder, Phenazepam, Ethylphenidate, Ketamine, Etaqualone, Xanax, Valium, and Heroin. Kennedy also admitted selling at least 38 grams of cocaine.

Ross Ulbricht, a/k/a “Dread Pirate Roberts,” a/k/a “DPR,” age 31, of San Francisco, California, was convicted in the Southern District of New York on charges related to his operation of the Silk Road website and sentenced to life in prison.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised HSI Baltimore, DEA, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, ATF, U.S. Secret Service and IRS-Criminal Investigation for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Sandra Wilkinson and Paul E. Budlow, who prosecuted this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.

Drug Trafficking
Updated November 3, 2015