One of the kingpins of Silk Road, the online darknet drug market that operated with Bitcoin, and its alleged CEO, Roger Clark, a Canadian, pled guilty on Thursday in New York to conspiracy to distribute narcotics. He faces a term of incarceration of 20 years.
Clark was extradited from Thailand in 2018, and was charged with narcotics trafficking conspiracy, distributing narcotics by means of the Internet, computer hacking conspiracy and money laundering. He was facing a term of imprisonment of life if convicted.
Clark advised Ross Ulbricht on all aspects of the operations of Silk Road, including how to avoid detection of US law enforcement. He was known as Variety Jones online and he figured prominently in the Silk Road chat evidence in the trial of Ulbricht, the founder of Silk Road. According to this reporter, Clark was its CEO. Silk Road was a $200 million online drug marketplace that facilitated the sales of illegal drugs and services around the world.
At his plea hearing, a few days ago, Clark admitted he played a central role in Silk Road and had advocated for the use of violence against anyone who cooperated with law enforcement. Clark went so far as to urge and facilitate, the attempted killing of a person suspected of stealing from Silk Road. That attempt is one of the more controversial stories surrounding the Silk Road case because the person they were trying to kill lived in Vancouver and the hit man was said to be a member of the Hells Angels, who asked to be paid in Bitcoin way back in 2014. The apparent Hells Angels hit man was paid and the transaction was recorded on the Blockchain on the time and date corresponding to when Ulbricht chatted that he sent Bitcoin to pay for the deed, but the RCMP discredited the story and said that no murder took place.
The two were aware that their activities triggered the super kingpin laws. Clark wrote to Ulbricht: “Not to be a downer [but] …understand that what we are doing falls under Drug Kingpin laws, which provides a maximum penalty of death upon conviction. . . . The mandatory minimum is life.”
Ulbricht wrote: “All in.”
Ulbricht was convicted of money laundering with an underlying narcotics offence, narcotics trafficking, running a criminal enterprise, trafficking in false ID products, among others in 2015, and was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole.
Clark once told a reporter in 2016, in respect of the US government that: “They don’t have sh*t on me.”
Clearly they did.