Five years after Silk Road shut down, one of its alleged advisers is being extradited to the U.S. to face newly unsealed charges for his role in the operation.
According to The Verge, Roger Clark was the alleged mentor, adviser and confidant to Silk Road’s founder, Ross Ulbricht.
Silk Road was dubbed the “Amazon of illegal narcotics,” and Ulbricht built a $1.2 billion empire selling heroin, cocaine and crystal meth online. He outdid himself, however, in terms of pleasing his customers, going so far as to brazenly offer buyer ratings and money-back guarantees.
In October 2013, the marketplace was shut down by the FBI, and Ulbricht was apprehended, arrested and given a sentence of life in prison without parole.
Last week, the U.S. Attorney’s office released an indictment against Clark (also known as “Variety Jones,” “VJ,” and “Cimon”), alleging he was a “real mentor” to Ulbricht over the course of the site’s operation. In addition, authorities claim that Clark ran much of the back end of Silk Road; his activities included hiring programmers to maintain and speed up the site, maintaining and creating rules for the Silk Road community to inform Ulbricht about the site’s security vulnerabilities, and collecting information on local law enforcement’s efforts to stop the site, among other things.
Clark is also charged with a number of conspiratorial charges, including narcotics trafficking and money laundering. If he is convicted, he faces 10 years to life in prison.
Clark was arrested and detained by Thai police nearly three years ago. During an interview in 2016, he bragged that the Thai police only seized his closed and encrypted laptops, and they could spend decades trying to access those hard drives; without that data, law enforcement has no hard evidence of his crimes.
“They don’t have s–t on me,” he said at the time. “I’m not going [to the U.S.]. It’s an impossible circumstance.”