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  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    View attachment 47228 Late on Friday, the US Attorney's Office announced the arrest of the man suspected of being a “senior advisor” to Ross Ulbricht, the convicted creator of drug marketplace Silk Road. Roger Thomas Clark is accused of being “Variety Jones,” and faces charges of narcotics conspiracy and money laundering.

    A complaint against Clark, issued in April of this year, was also unsealed today. It details how investigators were led to Clark, and it appears he made one of the same mistakes as other suspected Silk Road staff members.

    “I have reviewed the contents of a decrypted version of the image file entitled 'cimon.jpg,'" wrote Gary L. Alford, a special agent with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), in the complaint. Cimon was one of Variety Jones's alter aliases.

    It “contains a passport issued by Canada for ROGER THOMAS CLARK, lists his date of birth as September 13, 1961, and indicates that it was issued in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (“UK”).”

    Ulbricht, in his hire of employees, requested governmental identification from each potential staffer. This was the case with Inigo, SSBD, and Libertas, all members of the Silk Road who carried out various key roles. It appears that Variety Jones may have done the same.

    View attachment 47229

    From here, Alford stated he found that Clark was listed on the corporate filing for a UK based company called “Gypsy Nirvana Limited.” Clark was the director of that company, according to the record. Alford then points to a chat log found on Ulbricht's computer with Cimon stating that he had created this company.

    Here, things get a little hazier, with the introduction of an unnamed cooperating witness (labeled in the complaint as “CW-1”).

    In April, this witness allegedly told law enforcement that “Roger Clark” is the individual behind the Variety Jones alias, and that Clark also used the nickname “Mongoose.” In chat logs from Ulbricht's computer, Cimon indicated that he had used his name.

    “I was, and am, Plural of Mongoose,” he allegedly wrote. “Folks who know and love me, it's Mongoose.”

    CW-1, according to a footnote in the complaint, has already been charged with crimes for his participation in Silk Road, and is cooperating with law enforcement in the hopes of getting a lighter sentence.

    Other logs referenced in the complaint point to Variety Jones worrying about facing deportation from the UK while he was living there, and that Cimon made multiple references to living in Thailand.

    Roger Thomas Clark was arrested on December 3 in Thailand. A Motherboard investigation had identified Variety Jones as either a Roger or Thomas Clark. It’s also worth mentioning that the independent researcher known as La Moustache followed the trail of Plural of Mongoose, through to a Mr. Clark in March of this year, a month before the complaint was issued.

    Read the full complaint:

    By Joseph Cox - Vice Motherboard/Dec. 4, 2015
    Newshawk Crew

    Author Bio

    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.


  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    Re: Man Suspected of Being Silk Road's Variety Jones Captured This Past Friday

    [IMGL=white]https://drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=47231&stc=1&d=1449429852[/IMGL]The man believed to be Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht’s closest adviser has finally been apprehended.

    In a statement published Friday, the FBI said that Roger Thomas Clark, known online as “Variety Jones,” “VJ” and “Cimon,” was arrested in Thailand. The suspect is pending extradition to the United States.

    “Clark may have thought residing in Thailand would keep him out of reach of U.S authorities, but our international partnerships have proven him wrong, FBI Assistant Director Diego Rodriguez said in a statement. “We thank our law enforcement partners who have worked with the FBI on this case.”

    Federal prosecutors allege that the 54-year-old Canadian was paid “at least hundreds of thousands of dollars” to work for Ulbricht. The announcement comes over six months after Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison.

    In 2011, Ulbricht wrote of Variety Jones:

    This was the biggest and strongest willed character I had met through the site thus far. He quickly proved to me that he had value by pointing out a major security hole in the site I was unaware of... He has advised me on many technical aspect of what we are doing, helped me speed up the site and squeeze more out of my current servers. He also 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. He 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.

    Clark is charged with one count of narcotics conspiracy, and one count of money laundering conspiracy. If found guilty, Clark could face up to 30 years in prison. Prosecutors unsealed the criminal complaint on Friday, nearly six months after it was initially issued.​

    Opsec fail

    So how did American authorities finally conclude that Clark was Variety Jones?

    A scan of his Canadian passport was amongst Ulbricht’s stash of scanned identification documents of Silk Road staffers contained on his laptop, which was seized during Ulbricht’s arrest at a San Francisco library in October 2013.

    In an affidavit, Internal Revenue Service Special Agent Gary Alford wrote that once investigators had a copy of the Clark passport, they noted it was issued in the United Kingdom. They later discovered that this name was listed as a director of a British company called “Gypsy Nirvana.” The business records noted that this person was also named Roger Thomas Clark, who had the same nationality and birthday.

    As Vice Motherboard noted, one month before the criminal complaint was issued, an independent researcher named La Moustache concluded that Variety Jones was a longtime marijuana vendor named Plural of Mongoose, and even linked to British court documents showing the name Thomas Clark.

    According to Alford, an unnamed cooperating witness also confirmed that Clark and Variety Jones are the same person. The FBI did not explain exactly how Clark was located within Thailand, nor the circumstances of his arrest.

    However, in the affidavit, Alford also observes that the chat logs between Ulbricht and Variety Jones end about April 3, 2013, prior to which they discuss switching from TorChat to Pidgin, an open-source chat client that automatically uses OTR encryption. Most likely, Ulbricht and Variety Jones then used OTR chats and disabled logging so there would be no trace of their conversations.

    At one point, Cimon suggested that Ulbricht (as Dread Pirate Roberts) order a murder on a staffer that Ulbricht thought was stealing from Silk Road. (This entire murder-for-hire episode turned out to be staged by the Drug Enforcement Agency.)

    "As a side note, at what point in time do we decide we've had enough of someones shit, and terminate them?" asked Cimon. "Like, does impersonating a vendor to rip off a mid-level drug lord, using our rep and system; follows up by stealing from our vendors and clients and breeding fear and mis-trust, does that come close in yer opinion?"

    "Terminate?" wrote DPR. "Execute?"

    "Yeah, pretty much," said Cimon. "At what point in time is that the response. We're playing with big money with serious people, and that's the world they live in."


    For background news on Silk Road, as well as all the in-depth, further details on its history, please go here

    By Cyrus Farivar - Ars technica/Dec. 5, 2015
    Newshawk Crew
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