Dark web trading site Silk Road’s alleged second-in-command Roger Thomas Clark, also known as Variety Jones, arrived in New York yesterday after being extradited from Thailand. Clark was arrested two and half years ago in Thailand for charges relating to his involvement in the running of the website, which was implicated in online drug-dealing using Bitcoin as payment, amongst other illegal activities.
In a high profile trial that concluded in 2015, website founder Ross Ulbricht was sentenced to life imprisonment without possibility of parole for the running of the Silk Road website. The trial was one of the first high profile criminal cases involving the use of cryptocurrency for illicit purposes. The 2015 Netflix documentary ‘Deep Web’, details the case and the events leading up to it.
Clark, 56, is believed to have been a mentor of Ulbricht, advising him on security methods, technical infrastructure and management of the site.
Clark’s case hangs on whether federal authorities can link him to pseudonyms used by Ross Ulbricht in a diary, within which Ulbricht describes a person known as ‘Variety Jones’ as a ‘real mentor’. Authorities believe Clark used the Variety Jones pseudonym amongst others, including ‘VJ’, ‘Cimon’ and ‘Plural of Mongoose’.
In further journal entries, Ulbricht describes Variety Jones as an advisor who guided him in thwarting law enforcement, dealing with problematic users and devising rules for the Silk Road community.
If convicted, Clark could face a minimum of 10 years imprisonment.
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