Today, the FBI unsealed the indictments of three men with alleged ties to Silk Road.
Here’s what we know about 25-year-old alleged site administrator Gary Davis, aka “Libertas”:
1. He Was Reportedly Arrested in Ireland Last Night
According to a source who spoke with Tech Crunch, Irish police conducted a raid on a house in Wicklow, Thursday night, December 19, around 8 p.m. Irish time. The source claims the raid managed to seize approximately 200,000 Euros worth of bitcoins.
2. Libertas Wrote a Tearful Goodbye to Silk Road in October
On October 2, 2013, the FBI seized Silk Road and arrested its alleged founder, Ross William Ulbricht, aka Dread Pirate Roberts.
On October 3rd, Gawkwer re-printed a tearful goodbye Libertas wrote to his fellow Silk Roadies. It’s an impassioned screed, burying a reasonable critique of the war on drugs in melodramatic Libertarian rhetoric, complete with references to jackbooted thugs, and a quotation of Martin Luther King. The post begins:
“Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters in arms,
It is with a heavy heart that I come before you today. A heart filled with sadness for the infringements of our freedoms by government oppressors, and a heart filled with sadness for the pain that all of you whom have lost everything are feeling.
Silk Road has fallen.”
While the post’s tone is mournful, it is far from resigned. Levritas describes Ulbricht in language reserved for holy martyrs:
“The Dread Pirate Roberts is a revolutionary, a comrade in arms and a true hero who will live on as such in our hearts and minds without fail for as long as we breathe. His ideals and sacrifices will never be forgotten…”
Rather than scaring him away from the cyber black market, Levritas wrote the raid “serves to strengthen my resolve to fighting the hands of Law Enforcement that are committed to strangling personal freedom from our bodies.”
He then anticipates the formation of Silk Road 2, writing:
“No doubt we will all regroup elsewhere, and I look forward to seeing all of you again, still free and still engaging in free trade without government interference into your personal affairs.”
On October 9th, Libertas announced the formation of a silk road replacement site, in a reddit post titled: “We rise again!”
A complete archive of Libertas’ forum posts can be found here.
3. Gary Davis Has Been Indicted for Narcotics Trafficking, Computer Hacking & Money Laundering
An indictment released today from the Southern District Court of New York details the charges against Davis, along with two others: alleged administrator Andrew Michael Jones aka “Inigo,” and alleged moderator Peter Phillip Nash aka “Samesamebutdiffernt,” “Batman73,” “Symmetry,” “Anonymousasshit.”
The indictment alleges that, as an administrator, Davis was responsible for “monitoring user activity on Silk Road for problems, responding to customer service inquiries, and resolving disputes between buyers and vendors.” Which sounds like pretty conscientious web-site administration. Unfortunately, providing quality customer service, for a website devoted to selling narcotics across the dark web is a felony.
The indictment further alleges that Davis was involved in computer hacking for the sake of securing Silk Road commercial advantage. It also charges Davis with money laundering, for accepting currency he knew had been gained through illegal activities.
While most of today’s headlines have described the moderators as employees of Silk Road 2.0, the charges listed in the indictment date from January 2011 to October 2nd, 2013, the period of time that the original Silk Road was operational.
The indictment can be read here:
4. Silk Road 1.0 Was Hugely Profitable
The original Silk Road was operational between January 2011 and the day of the FBI’s seizure, and during that time, it oversaw the transfer of around $1.2 billion and generated around $80 million in commission. Despite those considerable profit margins, the indictment reports that employees like Libertas were taking home a solid, but unsexy $50,000 to $75,000 a year.
5. Silk Road 2.0 Fears ‘Synchronized World Arrests’
The arrests have provoked understandable alarm in the Silk Road community. An anonymous poster on competing black market site “Tormarket,” shared a post he’d captured on the silkroad vendor’s roundtable, ostensibly from an arrested administrator out on bond. That poster suggests that the FBI had obtained conversations he’d had with buyers and DPR (Dread Pirate Roberts):
A police source told Tech Crunch that EU law enforcement has infiltrated Silk Road 2, saying:
“Silk Road were very foolish in their operations. A number of EU LE units infiltrated their market admin. Plenty of other information was acquired.”