Roger Thomas Clark, a senior advisor to the operator of the Bitcoin-powered darknet market Silk Road, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for his active role in running the online criminal empire.
According to the press release by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York on Tuesday, July 11, Canadian national Roger Thomas Clark, 61, also known as “Plural of Mongoose,” “Variety Jones,” “VJ,” and “Cimon,” was a senior advisor to Ross Ulbricht, the founder of Silk Road who is also known as “Dread Pirate Roberts.”
Senior adviser to the operator of the Silk Road online black market sentenced to 20 years in prisonhttps://t.co/cke3iGpGB6
— US Attorney SDNY (@SDNYnews) July 11, 2023
The “Real Mentor” Even Suggested Murder-for-Hire
Silk Road was an online black marketplace that allowed users to access drugs and other illegal goods and services anonymously and outside law enforcement’s reach through the Tor network and a Bitcoin-based payment system.
According to the evidence presented in the court during the 2015 Ross Ulbricht trial, Ulbricht founded Silk Road in January 2011. The marketplace facilitated the trade of millions of dollars of narcotics, illegal drugs, computer hacking services, and many other criminal services until it was taken down by law enforcement in October 2013.
Silk Road was the first online marketplace to exclusively use cryptocurrencies for trade. The press release reads:
“Silk Road was massive in scope; there were more than 1.5 million transactions on the site, involving more than 115,000 buyer accounts and 3,000 seller accounts. These transactions had a total value of approximately $213 million, including more than $183 million in drug sales. The drugs sold on Silk Road included more than 82 kilograms of cocaine and 26 kilograms of heroin. Silk Road was also used to launder hundreds of millions of dollars deriving from these unlawful transactions.”
Ross Ulbricht described Clark as his “real mentor” who advised him how to run and protect the criminal empire from law enforcement. The advisor advised on “security vulnerabilities in the Silk Road site, technical infrastructure, the rules that governed Silk Road users and vendors, and the promotion of sales on Silk Road, including the sales of narcotics.” He also assisted the founder in hiring a programmer to improve and maintain the marketplace.
The senior advisor also suggested Ulbricht commission a murder-for-hire to kill a staff member suspected of stealing approximately $350,000 in Bitcoin. Although the suspect was unharmed, Ulbricht paid $80,000 to the hitman.
Clark pleaded guilty in January 2020, and now US District Judge Sidney H. Stein has sentenced him to 20 years in prison for conspiring to distribute massive quantities of narcotics. Furthermore, he has also been sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $1,606,150. Ross Ulbricht was given two life sentences in 2015 without the possibility of parole.
The US authorities seized over $1 billion worth of Bitcoin connected to the Silk Road in 2013. In November 2022, they seized around 50,000 BTC from James Zhong, who pleaded guilty to hacking Silk Road in 2012.
As Crypto Economy reported, US law enforcement agencies sold some of the assets seized from the hacker in March 2023. In March, they sold off more than 9,800 BTC for about $215 million. Reports suggest that the US Government plans to sell the remaining 40,000 BTC in four batches in 2023.