His real name is Michael Duch, and he was a key witness in the case against Ross Ulbricht, functionally as a way to describe to jurors how the site worked from the perspective of a dealer. Duch had no connection to Ulbricht outside of Ulbricht’s identity as Dread Pirate Roberts, the site’s administrator and thought leader. Some feel that Duch’s real purpose in the Silk Road trial was to refute the claim that the Silk Road was harmless.
Duch was convicted yesterday in the same courtroom where Ulbricht received a life sentence and fines which no honest working person could ever pay. He received a 2 ½ year sentence, 21 months of which is already completed. His cooperation was key to the decision to be lenient on him, however it is important to note that the maximum penalty for his crime would have been 15 years in federal court, but life in some states.
Duch’s lawyer pleaded for his client to be sent to a treatment facility, pointing out that his heroin addiction had initiated his career as a mail order smack dealer. Judge Katherine Forrest, the same who felt moved to end non-violent Ross Ulbricht’s free life at 30, did not budge and ruled that 2 ½ years would be fair, given the co-operation.
Duch thanked the judge and the justice system for capturing him and calling him as a witness, saying:
This path has been extremely painful, but necessary, and truly I am thankful for it.
Images from Shutterstock.
Last modified: August 8, 2020 6:22 PM UTC