The man known as Variety Jones, a crucial administrator on the Silk Road, has been arrested in Thailand. Police say Jones, real name Roger Thomas Clark, mentored Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht on the best way to run the drug website while avoiding police detection.
Clark, a 54-year-old Canadian, was apprehended in Thailand after a joint investigation between Thai police, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the FBI, the BBC reported Monday. He's charged with narcotics conspiracy and money laundering, and faces up to 30 years in jail if convicted. It was Jones who recommended that Ulbricht, who was sentenced to life in prison earlier this year, change his username from admin to Dread Pirate Roberts (a reference to “The Princess Bride”) to imply that the site was in fact run by a chain of operators.
“He has helped me better interact with the community around Silk Road, delivering proclamations, handling troublesome characters, running a sale, changing my name, devising rules, and on and on,” Ulbricht wrote in his journal. “He has also helped me get my head straight regarding legal protection, cover stories, devising a will, finding a successor and so on. He's been a real mentor.”
The arrest coincides with a judge's decision to sentence Shaun Bridges, a former Secret Service agent who stole money from the Silk Road while investigating the site, to 71 months in prison Monday. Bridges plotted to steal bitcoin from the Silk Road and transfer them to his own overseas account.