A Vancouver man, James Ellingson, is the subject of an extradition request by the US, based on charges that include money laundering and narcotics importation from the Southern District of New York (“SDNY“).
Ellingson was arrested in Vancouver on October 29, 2018, under an Extradition Act provisional warrant. According to the SDNY, Ellingson sold drugs on the darknet site Silk Road, that was shut down by the FBI. He is alleged to have been a user named “Marijuanaismymuse” and under that user name, allegedly was a prolific drug seller, selling 19 kilos of marijuana (this is what 19 kilos of marijuana looks like), 7 kilos of MDMA, 4 kilos of meth (this is what 4 kilos of meth looks like), 2 kilos of cocaine (this is what 2 kilos of cocaine looks like) and 100 grams of heroin to various online purchasers and was allegedly paid over time with $2 million in Bitcoin.
The proceeds of crime earned in Vancouver in Bitcoin was allegedly funnelled through a Canadian digital currency exchange. Drug sales over the darknet, if they involve Vancouver traffickers, are shipped by Canada Post in little packages to buyers.
Ellingson allegedly has a long criminal record in Vancouver, including convictions for criminal harassment, assault, possession of a prohibited weapon, drug trafficking and drug possession and according to the allegations, appears to have continued criminal activities on the darknet.
In order to locate the user behind “Marijuanaismymuse”, the FBI undertook Bitcoin wallet tracing and obtained a court order for Gmail records. According to affidavit evidence, Ellingson communicated with Ross Ulbricht, the founder of the darknet site, Silk Road.
It is also alleged that Ellingson may be the user “redandwhite.” Redandwhite is significant because it is the person who Ross Ulbright allegedly contacted about killing a Silk Road user who lived in Vancouver who was blackmailing Ulbright.
Ulbright wrote to Redandwhite for the contract killing, writing: ‘I would like to put a bounty on his head if it’s not too much trouble for you. What would be an adequate amount to motivate you to find him? Necessities like this do happen from time to time for a person in my position.’ Ulbright went on to clarify that it didn’t need to be ‘clean’.
You can read the transcript for the contract killing here.
Redandwhite quoted a price of $300k+ for clean and $150–$200k for non-clean, to which Ulbright replied: ‘Are the prices you quoted the best you can do? I would like this done asap.’
The parties allegedly agreed on a price of 1,670 Bitcoin for the job and the payment was recorded on the Blockchain. A day later, Redandwhite informed Ulbright that the problem was taken care of and allegedly sent photographs to confirm the murder had occurred.
Ellingson is currently out on bail in Vancouver, waiting for a hearing on the application for his extradition to the US, and has been ordered not to communicate with Ross Ulbricht.
Ross Ulbricht is incarcerated in the US, serving a jail term of double life imprisonment plus 40 years with no possibility of parole. He is not allowed to communicate with anyone.
Some people online theorize that Ulbright was played and the person who blackmailed Ulbright was the same person who offered to help kill the blackmailer, and ergo, the murder didn’t actually take place. And that person, it would appear from theories, may be Redandwhite. But that theory is unlikely to be true because this would have been a substantial set of facts that Ulbricht could have introduced at his trial. Ulbright would have known if the communications came from the same IP address. So would the FBI in their investigation. And so would the digital currency exchange in Canada that provided Bitcoin exchange services in Vancouver for both ends of the deal, eg., to the blackmailer and the hit man. Ulbright did not introduce evidence at his trial in respect of IP addresses or Bitcoin wallet intersections or Bitcoin account holders, to show that the blackmailer and the hitman were one and the same person and that no one was at risk of being murdered.
There is no evidence introduced as to the location of the $2 million that passed through Ellingson’s two Bitcoin wallets for the alleged drug trafficking.