Three alleged former employees of “Silk Road,” the online marketplace prosecutors called a “sprawling black-market bazaar,” were accused of conspiring to traffic in drugs, hack computers and launder money.
Andrew Michael Jones, Gary Davis and Peter Phillip Nash were charged in a federal indictment unsealed today in Manhattan with helping Ross William Ulbricht, the alleged mastermind of Silk Road, to maintain the site.
“During its more than 2 1/2 years in operation, Silk road was used by several thousand drug dealers and other unlawful vendors to distribute hundreds of kilograms of illegal drugs and other illicit goods and services to well over 100,0000 thousand buyers, and to launder hundreds of millions of dollars deriving from these unlawful transactions,” prosecutors said in the indictment.
Ulbricht, who was allegedly known online as “Dread Pirate Roberts,” was arrested in October and charged with running Silk Road, where anonymous users paid Bitcoin digital currency for illegal drugs, malicious software designed for computer hackers and other illegal products. He’s being held without bail. While arguing against his release on bail, prosecutors in New York said he tried to arrange the murder of six people to protect his business.
The government claims Jones and Davis worked as site administrators for Silk Road. Nash was the primary moderator on Silk Road discussion forums, prosecutors said. Ulbricht paid his site administrators and forum moderators salaries ranging from $50,000 to $75,000 a year, according to the government.
The three men are charged with one count each of narcotics trafficking conspiracy, computer hacking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. Jones was arrested yesterday in Charles City, Virginia. Davis, of Ireland, was arrested in that country yesterday. Nash was arrested in Brisbane, Australia.
Curtis Green, another former Silk Road administrator, pleaded guilty last month to a cocaine conspiracy charge in federal court in Maryland. Green was charged with helping an undercover agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration arrange the purchase of 2.2 pounds of cocaine for about $27,000.
The case is U.S. v. Ulbricht, 13-mg-023287, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).