NEW YORK, Dec. 5 (UPI) — A Canadian man was arrested Friday in Thailand as an alleged “senior adviser” to the creator of Silk Road, an online black market where illegal drugs, weapons and goods were sold.
Roger Thomas Clark, 54, is pending extradition to the United States on narcotic and money laundering charges for his alleged role in helping Ross Ulbricht create Silk Road, which allowed anonymous users to buy illegal goods and services with virtual currency Bitcoin. Ulbricht was sentenced in May to life in prison for running the site.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Clark, who went by the online monikers “Variety Jones,” “VJ,” “Cimon,” and “Plural of Mongoose,” advised Ulbricht and was considered his trusted “mentor.” Federal prosecutors said Clark was paid “at least” hundreds of thousands of dollars to help Ulbricht improve and expand the website’s technical infrastructure, create and enforce the site’s rules and skirt law enforcement investigations.
“In that vein, Clark repeatedly advocated the use of intimidation and violence to keep members of the Silk Road support staff from cooperating with law enforcement,” federal prosecutors said.
The arrest is the latest in a string of incidents related to the sprawling Silk Road criminal case that began in 2013. In July, former DEA agent Carl Forces pleaded guilty to stealing $200,000 in bit coins during the government’s investigation of Silk Road. In September, former U.S. Secret Service Agent Shaun Bridges pleaded guilty to money laundering in connection to the theft of $820,000 in bitcoins related to the Silk Road investigation.
Clark could face a maximum of life in prison if convicted on the narcotics charge and 20 years if convicted of money laundering.