Friday, December 4, 2015

Silk Road Accomplice Nabbed in Thailand

 Federal prosecutors Friday announced the arrest of a Canadian citizen on charges he was a key accomplice to convicted Silk Road darknet mastermind Ross Ulbricht, reports USA Today.

Roger Thomas Clark, 54, was arrested in Thailand Thursday, and is now pending extradition to face U.S. charges of narcotics trafficking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.

Likening Clark to a Mafia ring consigliere or counselor, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said the accused accomplice advised Ulbricht "on all aspects of this illegal business, including how to maximize profits and use threats of violence to thwart law enforcement."

"Clark may have thought residing in Thailand would keep him out of reach of U.S authorities, but our international partnerships have proven him wrong," said FBI Assistant Director Diego Rodriguez.

According to a newly unsealed federal court complaint, Clark used the names "Variety Jones," "Cimon" and "Plural of Mongoose" when he worked as a Silk Road administrator and received hundreds of thousands of dollars as payment for his services.

The complaint included excerpts from an electronic journal that was compiled by Ulbricht and introduced by prosecutors at his trial. In it, Ulbricht explained the important role Variety Jones held on Silk Road.

"This was the biggest and strongest willed character I had met through the site thus far," Ulbricht wrote in a 2011 journal entry. "He quickly proved to me that he had value by pointing out a major security hole in the site I was unaware of."

USA Today continues:
The following year, Ulbricht wrote that the aide asked him whether he had confessed his scheme and identity to anyone. When Ulbricht told him he'd confided in two people, Variety Jones offered advice.

"VJ asked Ulbricht whether he had seen the move The Princess Bride, and whether he knew the 'history of the Dread Pirate Roberts,' IRS Special Agent Gary Alford wrote in the court complaint.

"VG explained the legend of the character 'Dread Pirate Roberts,' how 'over the years, a new one would take the name, and the old one would retire,'" wrote Alford.  "VJ insisted that Ulbricht should change his name on the Silk Road website 'from Admin, to Dread Pirate Roberts' to 'clear your old trail.'"

Prosecutors charged that the advice Variety Jones/Clark gave to Ulbricht also was like that of a more traditional gangster.

In one online exchange, Clark and Ulbricht discussed “track[ing] down” a certain Silk Road employee to ensure that he had not gone “[o]ff the rails,” prosecutors charged. Clark allegedly commented: “[D]ude, we’re criminal drug dealers — what line shouldn’t we cross?”


1 comment:

  1. interesting. such a sad story. i don't like clark's moralizing in that last quote. essentially accepting the state's appraisal of his activities as criminal, as crossing a line, but then throwing all other lines to cross out the window. i don't like what i suspect he might have meant. that said, it was just words and these guys are being abused.