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Silk Road 2IC sentenced to 20 years in jail

Roger Thomas Clark, who was behind the man who ran the infamous Silk Road darknet market, has been sentenced to 20 years behind bars.

user icon David Hollingworth
Wed, 12 Jul 2023
Silk Road 2IC sentenced to 20 years in jail
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Clark, 61, was also forced to surrender US$1.6 million and will serve an additional three years of supervised release when he is let out.

Silk Road is considered to have been the first major darknet market and all others since that have followed are similar in operation. The market launched in 2011 on the hidden TOR network and was originally run from the laptop of the market’s founder, Ross Ulbricht, also known as the “Dread Pirate Roberts”.

Ulbricht was tracked down and arrested in October 2013, went to trial in January 2015, and was eventually found guilty of seven charges — including narcotics trafficking and hacking — and subsequently is serving two consecutive life sentences without parole. Ulbricht was also ordered by the court to forfeit US$183 million.

Clark, who himself was known online variously as “Variety Jones” and “Plural of Mongoose”, among others, was already serving time in a Thai jail when he was extradited to the US in June 2018. According to Ulbricht, Clark was his mentor and helped create the rules under which the market ran. Clark also monitored security for the market and helped it avoid legal scrutiny, and when a Silk Road employee stole US$350,000 in cryptocurrency, Clark suggested that Ulbricht take out a murder-for-hire commission.

The employee was not harmed, but Ulbricht did pay the assassin.

While it was operating, Silk Road racked up more than 1.5 million transactions from 3,000 vendors selling drugs and other illegal services to more than 115,000 buyers.

“Silk Road was a secret online marketplace for illegal drugs, computer hacking services, and a host of other criminal activity,” said US Attorney Damian Williams in an announcement.

“Roger Thomas Clark was a central figure in helping to lead Silk Road and in advocating violence, even murder, to protect this digital drug empire.

“Today’s sentence is another reminder that criminal marketplaces, like Silk Road, are a road to prison.”

The FBI, the IRS’ Criminal Investigation’s New York office, Homeland Security, the DEA, and NYPD all assisted in the investigation and conviction.

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth has been writing about technology for over 20 years, and has worked for a range of print and online titles in his career. He is enjoying getting to grips with cyber security, especially when it lets him talk about Lego.

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