“Ross W. Ulbricht, the founder of Silk Road, a notorious online marketplace for the sale of heroin, cocaine, LSD and other illegal drugs, was sentenced to life in prison on Friday in Federal District Court in Manhattan.

Mr. Ulbricht, 31, was sentenced by the judge, Katherine B. Forrest, for his role as what prosecutors described as “the kingpin of a worldwide digital drug-trafficking enterprise.”

Mr. Ulbricht had faced a minimum of 20 years in prison on one of the counts for which he was convicted. But in handing down a much longer sentence, Judge Forrest told Mr. Ulbricht that “what you did in connection with Silk Road was terribly destructive to our social fabric.”

She dismissed the defense’s argument that because Silk Road had operated online, it was safer than traditional street-level drug dealing. She described how Silk Road had expanded the market for drugs and the demand by users, and cited collateral damage from the violence associated with drug production overseas to addiction, crime and the destruction of families. Silk Road, she said, was just “a step in the chain.”  Link