Roger Thomas Clark, also known as “Plural of Mongoose,” “Variety Jones,” “VJ,” and “cimon,” has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role as the top adviser to Ross Ulbricht, the owner and operator of the Silk Road online illicit black market.
According to the press release by the Southern District Court of New York, Clark played a central role in the operation of Silk Road, advising Ulbricht on all aspects of the enterprise, including facilitating an attempted murder-for-hire.
Silk Road was a secret online marketplace that operated from 2011 until 2013 and was used by thousands of drug dealers and other vendors to distribute illegal drugs and other illicit goods and services to more than 100,000 buyers and launder hundreds of millions of dollars derived from those unlawful transactions.
Silk Road Insider Sentenced
Silk Road was a massive criminal enterprise with over 1.5 million transactions on the site, involving more than 115,000 buyer accounts and 3,000 seller accounts. These transactions had a total value of approximately $213 million, including more than $183 million in drug sales.
The drugs sold on Silk Road included over 82 kilograms of cocaine and 26 kilograms of heroin. Silk Road was specifically designed to allow its users to buy and sell drugs and other illegal goods and services anonymously and outside law enforcement’s reach through the Tor network and a Bitcoin-based payment system.
Furthermore, Clark’s journal showed that he was a “real mentor” to Ulbricht and provided advice on security vulnerabilities in the Silk Road site, technical infrastructure, and the rules that governed Silk Road users and vendors.
Clark also assisted Ulbricht with hiring a programmer to help improve and maintain the infrastructure of Silk Road and advised Ulbricht on how to protect the criminal empire.
Moreover, the operation involved using Bitcoin, which allowed for anonymous transactions. The US government seized over 144,000 Bitcoin, worth over $1 billion, connected to Silk Road in 2013.
In March 2023, the US government sold over 9,800 Bitcoin connected to Silk Road for about $215 million.
The sentencing of Clark is a result of the joint efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation’s New York Field Office, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Chicago-O’Hare, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Field Division, and the New York City Police Department.
In addition to his prison sentence, Clark, a citizen of Canada, has been sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $1,606,150.
Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency in the market, is trading at $30,600 and trying to break through its nearest resistance level of $31,000. Despite this attempt, BTC is still down by over 1% in the last 24 hours.
Featured image from Unsplash, chart from TradingView.com