Business 18 June 2018

Erik Gibbs

Key Silk Road figure extradited from Thailand to New York

Whether he goes by Roger Thomas Clark, Variety Jones, Plural of Mongoose or Cimon, one of the top players in the drug-dealing website Silk Road will face a judge. Clark has been extradited to New York, some two and a half years after being arrested in Thailand.

According to multiple investigations, Clark was a key figure in developing Silk Road. While his aliases have yet to be confirmed, prosecutors feel that they have been able to connect enough of the dots to link Clark to a slew of illegal activities conducted through the site. Clark is said to be behind the site’s operations and was involved in site activities such as hiring and managing computer programmers and advising the site’s owner, Ross Ulbricht, on how to evade law enforcement investigations.

After his arrest on December 3, 2015, Clark told Ars Technica that he was innocent, and that there was no evidence connecting him to the crimes. Federal authorities are now trying to connect him to the aliases, which could result in additional charges. The authorities are said to have seized a journal kept by Ulbricht where multiple remarks are recorded that could prove to be problematic for Clark.

According to the extradition order, “CLARK – who went by the online nicknames “Variety Jones,” “VJ,” “Cimon,” and “Plural of Mongoose” – was described by Ulbricht as a “real mentor” who advised Ulbricht about, among other things, security vulnerabilities in the Silk Road site, technical infrastructure, management of the Silk Road users, and operating in a manner to attempt to thwart law enforcement.”

Ulbricht, who went by the alias “Dread Pirate Roberts,” was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in February 2015. He was convicted of computer hacking, money laundering, conspiracy to traffic narcotics and conspiracy to traffic fraudulent identity documents. He is currently serving out his sentence at the U.S. Penitentiary Florence High in Colorado.

Silk Road collapsed in 2013 after Ulbricht was busted in San Francisco. At the time, he had his laptop open and was logged into Silk Road’s site. Investigators found a picture of Clark on the laptop, which has become a crucial piece of evidence linking him to the Variety Jones alias.

In accordance with the extradition, and, in the event no more charges are added, the Clark could face a minimum of 10 years in prison.

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