Federal prosecutors in NY charge 3 in drug website
NEW YORK (AP) — Three more men face charges for their alleged roles in the online black market website known as the Silk Road, federal prosecutors in New York City revealed Friday.
An indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court charges Andrew Michael Jones of Charles City, Va., Gary Davis of Wicklow, Ireland, and Peter Phillip Nash of Brisbane, Australia with one count each of narcotics conspiracy, conspiracy to commit computer hacking and money laundering conspiracy.
Jones, 24, went by the online handle “Inigo” and Davis, 25, used the online moniker “Libertas” while they monitored user activity and responded to customer service questions as site administrators for Silk Road, according to prosecutors. The 40-year-old Nash — who prosecutors say used online aliases including “Samesamebutdifferent” and “Batman73″ — allegedly moderated a site forum.
Jones and Nash, who were arrested this week, and Davis, who is believed to be in Ireland, were paid between $50,000 and $75,000 a year for their work, prosecutors said.
The lawyer who represented Jones in Virginia said Friday his client waived his right to a bond hearing there and was transferred to New York in the custody of U.S. Marshals. It wasn’t clear if Davis and Nash had lawyers.
Authorities have said the site’s San Francisco operator generated more than $1 billion in illicit business from January 2011 through September by running the drug-dealing website that used a tough-to-track digital currency called Bitcoin.
Ross William Ulbricht, 29, was arrested in October and is being held in New York for various charges, including for arranging a failed murder-for-hire plot. Prosecutors charge he operated Silk Road under the “Dread Pirate Roberts” alias — an apparent reference to a swashbuckling character in “The Princess Bride,” the 1987 comedy film based on a novel of the same name.
Ulbricht hasn’t yet entered a plea. His lawyer has said his client is innocent and is not the person who used the “Dread Pirate Roberts” alias.
Last month, another man pleaded guilty in federal court in Baltimore to a drug conspiracy charge for his role in the website.