The senior advisor behind Silk Road has been arrested

Pierluigi Paganini December 05, 2015

Roger Thomas Clark the alleged mentor of Ross Ulbricht, the owner of the most popular black market Silk Road, has been arrested in Thailand.

The alleged mentor of Ross Ulbricht, the owner of the most popular black market Silk Road, has been arrested in Thailand and charged with conspiring to traffic drugs and money laundering.

Roger Thomas Clark (54) accused of being the mind behind Silk Road, he served as a senior advisor and mentor of Ross Ulbricht.

Silk Road

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced yesterday Clark is charged being “Variety Jones”  a key figure of the dark marketplace.

Clark was arrested Thursday and is now awaiting extradition to face United States charges of Narcotics Trafficking Conspiracy and Money Laundering Conspiracy, he risks a sentence that could bring him the life imprisonment

Roger Thomas Clark was a close collaborator of Ross Ulbricht’s who reported him on all activities of the Silk Road and helped Ulbricht to advertise the black market in the criminal underground.

The founder Ulbricht, also known as ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’, was arrested in San Francisco, he was reportedly in possession of 26,000 bitcoins with an estimated market value of $3.6 million USD.

After the arrest Roger Thomas Clark, aka Variety Jones, disappeared.

The Manhattan U.S. Attorney announced the arrest with the press release who refers Clark as the “Senior Adviser to the Operator Of The “Silk Road” Website.”

Clark used a number of aliases when operating online, including Variety Jones, Cimon, and Plural of Mongoose.

According to the press release, Clark used the online aliases of Variety Jones, Cimon, and Plural of Mongoose, and was paid “hundreds of thousands of dollars” for his work on the Silk Road.

“CLARK, who went by the online nicknames “Variety Jones,” “VJ,” “Cimon,” and “Plural of Mongoose,” was described by Ulbricht as a trusted “mentor,” who regularly advised him on the management of the Silk Road enterprise.  Among other things, CLARK counseled Ulbricht on the improvement and expansion of Silk Road’s technical infrastructure, including helping Ulbricht hire and manage a computer programmer to assist with these projects.” reads the press release. “CLARK also helped Ulbricht develop and enforce the rules governing how Silk Road vendors and users could do business on the site, which were designed to maximize the commissions that Ulbricht received from Silk Road sales.  CLARK further advised Ulbricht on how to conceal his involvement in, and hide his profits from, the operation of Silk Road, including helping Ulbricht devise cover stories to tell others and make plans to obtain foreign citizenship and offshore bank accounts.  Finally, CLARK also advised Ulbricht on tactics to thwart efforts by law enforcement to investigate Silk Road. “

The full press release of U.S. v. Clark, 15-mj-01335, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan) is available online.

Clark and Ulbricht used intimidation and violence to maintain control of the Silk Road support staff, discouraging them from cooperating with law enforcement.

Prosecutors also reported an online conversation between Clark and Ulbricht who were discussing to “track down” a certain Silk Road employee to ensure that he hadn’t gone “off the rails.” Clark reportedly commented: “Dude, we’re criminal drug dealers – what line shouldn’t we cross?

“In one such conversation, in which CLARK and Ulbricht discussed “track[ing] down” a certain Silk Road employee to ensure that he had not gone “[o]ff the rails,” CLARK commented, “[D]ude, we’re criminal drug dealers – what line shouldn’t we cross?””

The operation that allowed the arrest of Roger Thomas Clark is another success of the law enforcement, that identifies him despite the man adopted all the countermeasures to remain under the radar.

“The arrest of Roger Thomas Clark shows again that conducting criminal activities on the Dark Web does not keep a criminal out of law enforcement’s reach,” said Diego Rodriguez, FBI assistant director.

“Clark may have thought residing in Thailand would keep him out of reach of U.S authorities, but our international partnerships have proven him wrong. We thank our law enforcement partners who have worked with the FBI on this case.”

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Tor, Silk Road, cybercrime)

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