Accused of being a moderator for the online drug and illegal services bazaar Silk Road, 40-year-old Peter Philip Nash, aka “Samesamebutdifferent,” has been indicted for drug distribution.
Although not much is known about the investigation, there are tweets emerging that Silk Road itself has not been compromised and is still running.
Announcement from DPR [1/2] "Silk Road has not been compromised even if the allegations are true. Neither had access to sensitive material"
— All Things Vice (@EileenOrmsby) December 20, 2013
Here is what you need to know about this alleged moderator:
1. He Allegedly Gave Weekly Update Reports to Ross ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’ Ulbricht
According to the indictment, which you can read below, Nash was in contact with Ross William Ulbricht, the alleged founder of Silk Road who is currently under indictment himself after Silk Road was seized in October.
As evidence that Nash served as a moderator for the online market, the indictment focuses on an August 2, 2013 message from Nash to Ulbricht. Titled “Weekly Report,” the message, summarized the “actions Nash had taken during the previous week in his capacity as the primary forum moderator on the Silk Road discussion forums.
It is unclear as to when or if Nash ceased to work for Silk Road. A forum post done by “samesamebutdifferent” which listed him as a, “Global Moderator,” and a “Hero Member,” from October says:
It is highly likely these formed are under LE control, please exercise EXTREME causation if you are still using this site. The criminal co,plaint indicates that the servers have been imaged since mid-2012, they have accress to all site communications (PMs etc.), and the only way to take down a .onion site other than by compromising the private key associated with it is by seizing the server, right now it seems that that is now the case. This will be my final post on these forums and I needed to say what an honor and a privilege it has been to serve the SR community. My best advise right now is to consider the worst case scenario and plan accordingly.
2. Silk Road 1.0 Was Taken Down & Ulbricht Was Arrested in October
On October 2, 2013, the FBI seized Silk Road and arrested its alleged founder, Ross William Ulbricht, aka Dread Pirate Roberts.
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.
3. He Is Charged With a Number of Serious Crimes
Nash is charged with Narcotics Trafficking Conspiracy for Silk Road’s involvement in the selling of Drugs. He is also charged with Computer Hacking Conspiracy for Silk Road’s sale of “malicious software designed for computer hacking, such as password stealers, key loggers, and remote access tools.” The final charge is for money laundering conspiracy.
4. Three Alleged Administrators & Moderators Were Indicted
Along with Peter Nash, two other people who allegedly served as site administrators have also been arrested. Andrew Michael Jones, 24, aka “Inigo,” and Gary Davis, 25, aka “Libertas,” were also indicated on the same charges as Nash.
Both Jones and Davis are accused of being a site administrators. Administrators for the website reportedly made around $50,000 to $75,000 a year.
5. Jones’ Girlfriend Alerted Reddit to the Arrests
Late Thursday evening, a woman on Reddit claimed she’d been visited by the FBI, and told that her boyfriend had been arrested for his involvement in Silk Road.
Later, she posted a copy of a search warrant, briefly leaving her boyfriend’s real name “Andrew Michael Jones.”