- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 8, 2016

Roger Thomas Clark, a Canadian man accused of helping operate Silk Road, the now defunct internet drug bazaar, vowed to beat efforts to have him extradited to the United States in his first interview since being arrested last year in Thailand.

Mr. Clark, 55, has been held in Bangkok jail cell since December 2015 when Thai authorities arrested him in connection with the unsealing of federal charges in the U.S. related to his supposed involvement with Silk Road, “an anonymous global black market for all things illegal,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The DOJ is still gunning for his extradition nine months after charging him with counts of narcotics and money laundering conspiracy, but Mr. Clark dismissed the likelihood of being tried abroad in a recent prison interview published Wednesday by Ars Technica.

“It’s an impossible circumstance,” Mr. Clark told the tech website when asked about standing trial in the States.

“Guilt is a technical term,” he said during a recent prison interview. “They don’t have [expletive] on me.”

According to federal prosecutors in Manhattan where he’s wanted, Mr. Clark guided Silk Road’s convicted administrator, Ross Ulbricht, by advising him with respect to the website’s operations. The DOJ alleges Mr. Clark — using aliases including “Variety Jones” and “Plural of Mongoose” — assisted Ulbricht with matters such as expanding Silk Road’s technical infrastructure and establishing rules for vendors, and in exchange received hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal proceeds.

Silk Road generated upwards of $1.2 billion in annual sales when it was shut down in October 2013, the FBI said at the time. Ulbricht was arrested the same day the website was seized by the government when FBI agents caught him logged on to Silk Road as the its administrator, “Dread Pirate Roberts,” from his personal laptop inside a San Francisco library. Ulbricht, 32, was convicted of multiple felonies related to the website in 2015 and received two life sentences currently being appealed.

Unlike his alleged protege, Mr. Clark told Ars Technica investigators won’t be able to find any evidence linking him to Silk Road.

“They might have caught Ross with his notebook opened, as they claim, but they found my three notebooks closed and encrypted,” he told Ars Technica.

“Forensics could spend 30 years trying to decrypt those hard drives and still not get anywhere; so in a way, those hard disks are a headache,” he said. “The longer they need to open them, the longer I can relax here in Bangkok. They would rather deny that they seized all this evidence.”

FBI special agent James Gibbons, an investigator involved in the case, said previously that Mr. Clark’s arrest demonstrated that “the ‘long arm of the law’ has a great reach — even in cyberspace.”

Mr. Carter faces a minimum prison sentence of 10 years and a maximum of life if extradited and found guilty of narcotics conspiracy; a conviction for the money laundering conspiracy charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years behind bars.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide