The Silk Road case moved forward late last week, with three site administrators arrested and indicted on drug, money laundering, and hacking conspiracy charges. The arrests of Andrew Michael Jones of Charles City, Virginia; Gary Davis of Wicklow, Ireland; and Peter Phillip Nash of Brisbane, Australia, follow that of alleged Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht, who himself may have struck a plea bargain on some of the charges against him.
Missed our previous coverage of the Silk Road? Back in October, the supposedly anonymous drug, fake identification, and firearm marketplace was shut down by the FBI after the capture of Dread Pirate Roberts, the pseudonym of Ulbricht who, it turns out, was really bad at the whole staying anonymous thing. A sequel site re-emerged after the original was taken offline, but the men allegedly behind the resurrection -- Jones, Davis, and Nash, who also worked as administrators for the original site -- are now in custody, reports Reuters.
Stupid, Terrible Decision
As a Reddit user named "vytvy" pointed out, it was pretty unintelligent for the trio to resurrect the site themselves, as Ulbricht, who was allegedly paying them a salary, likely had their "dox" (real-life identifying information), and now, he's talking plea deals. There's also a lot of fun speculation as to which of the three administrators took the role of Dread Pirate Roberts II on the sequel site.
In any case, the trio are now listed, along with their own online monikers (the best one has to be "anonymousasshit"), and their assets are being seized, according to the sealed superseding indictment that found its way onto the Internet.
Ulbricht: Once, Twice, Six Times a Murder for Hire?
On the day of his arrest, we noted that one of the charges was for allegedly hiring an online hit man to take out someone over a business dispute. A day later, a second alleged murder-for-hire plot was revealed, this time over blackmail.
Late last month, that number grew to six, after court filings were made public that showed that Ulbricht was logged in to the Silk Road as an administrator when the FBI showed up, and that he kept meticulous records of all of his illegal activity, including notes on murder-for-hire plots, reports Ars Technica.
The newest revelation was a back-and-forth with "redandwhite," a suspected member of Hell's Angels (or perhaps a government informant) on "tony76," who had allegedly been running scams on the Silk Road. After much prodding, redandwhite convinced Ulbricht that tony76 and his three housemates needed to be executed, and that it could be done for the bargain rate of $500,000. Ulbricht allegedly paid, and made a note in his journal.
Plea Deal Coming?
According to Reuters, the court has delayed the indictment deadline to allow Ulbricht's lawyer to continue to negotiate a plea deal in his New York case. A separate case, involving one of the murder-for-hire plots, is pending in Baltimore, Maryland.
Have an opinion? Tweet us at @FindLawLP.
- Harvard Bomb Threat Shows Anonymous Browser Tor's Limitations (FindLaw's Technologist)
- Revenge Porn Website Creator Faces 31 Criminal Charges (FindLaw's Technologist)
- Judge Finds NSA Phone Bulk Metadata Program Unconstitutional (FindLaw's Technologist)
- FindLaw's Legal Technology Center (FindLaw)