A man accused of running a billion-dollar illegal drug sales website was brought before a federal magistrate in San Francisco Wednesday following his arrest in a branch library in the city on Tuesday.
Ross Ulbricht, 29, allegedly ran a website called Silk Road under the name of "Dread Pirate Roberts."
FBI Agent Christopher Tarbell alleged in an affidavit filed in federal court in New York City that the website "served as a sprawling black market bazaar" for drugs and other illegal items.
The agent said investigators estimate the site conducted about $1.2 billion in sales in the past two and one-half years and gained about $80 million in commissions.
Ulbricht is accused of narcotics conspiracy, computer hacking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy in a federal criminal complaint filed by U.S. prosecutors in New York City.
U.S. Magistrate Joseph Spero Wednesday ordered Ulbricht kept in custody for the time being.
Spero ordered Ulbricht to return to his court at 9:30 a.m. Friday for a detention hearing and for scheduling of a future hearing on whether he should be transferred to New York City to face the charges there.
Ulbricht was arrested in the science fiction section of the Glen Park branch of the San Francisco Public Library shortly after 3 p.m. Tuesday, according to library spokeswoman Michelle Jeffers.
Jeffers said library staff members reported that they heard a crashing sound and thought a patron might have fallen to the ground.
Instead, they saw Ulbricht, wearing blue jeans and a T-shirt, surrounded by six to eight plainclothes FBI agents.
The agents said "We're the FBI," flashed their badges, and walked out with Ulbricht, who did not resist the arrest, Jeffers said.
The spokeswoman said the agents had entered the small library building unobtrusively and not in a group, and the staff members were not aware of their presence until the arrest.
Tarbell said in the affidavit, which was filed with the complaint, that Ulbricht appeared to have been living at a series of addresses in San Francisco in recent months.