SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal judge on Wednesday ordered a California man charged with operating a notorious online drug marketplace known as Silk Road to be sent to New York to face charges.
Ross William Ulbricht, 29, agreed to remain in custody, waiving his right to argue for release on bail.
His public defender, Brandon LeBlanc, said Ulbricht will be transferred immediately from his jail cell in downtown Oakland and might argue for release once he reaches New York, where he is charged with three felonies related to the website, including solicitation of murder.
Silk Road gained widespread notoriety two years ago as a black market bazaar where visitors could buy and sell drugs using bitcoins, a form of online cash. A so-called hidden site, Silk Road used an online tool known as Tor to mask the location of its servers.
While many other sites sell drugs more or less openly, Silk Road's technical sophistication, its user-friendly escrow system and its promise of near-total anonymity quickly made it among the best known.
The FBI shut down the site when they arrested Ulbricht on Oct. 1 at a small branch library in San Francisco as he chatted online with a cooperating witness, according to authorities and court papers.
He is also charged in Baltimore federal court with soliciting the murder of a former worker who was arrested on drug charges. The indictment alleges Ulbricht feared the former worker would turn on him.
The FBI said Ulbricht unwittingly hired an undercover agent for the murder, which the FBI staged but never took place.
Prosecutors in New York have charged Ulbricht -- a native Texan who was living in San Francisco -- with trying unsuccessfully to solicit the murder of a Canadian man who allegedly hacked into Silk Road, obtained dealers names and began blackmailing Ulbricht.
Ulbricht is accused of operating Silk Road under the alias "Dread Pirate Roberts" and earning $80 million from commissions involving every sale.