Irish man Gary Davis Pleads Not Guilty to Silk Road Operation Charges

Gary Davis was charged with assisting Ross Ulbricht in running a drug trade estimated to be worth $200 million on the Silk Road drug marketplace. He is alleged to have been an administrator on the website using the name Libertas when it was first shut down. He pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, computer hacking, and money laundering.

Gary Davis was indicted in 2013 but fought extradition in the Irish courts saying that he suffered from Asperger Syndrome, depression and anxiety, and that incarceration in the US could hurt his mental health endangering his life which is a violation of his fundamental rights. But in June 2018, the Supreme Court rejected his arguments.

To those who have not heard of Silk Road, it is an online black market and the first modern darknet platform facilitating selling of illegal drugs. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) shut down the website in October 2013. The second version came back online on 6 November 2013 but was also shut down. Version 3.0 went offline in 2017 due to loss of funds. it was operated as a Tor hidden service, allowing online users to have the ability to browse it anonymously and securely without potential traffic monitoring.

Davis is the only one of three individuals alleged to have worked for Ulbricht in the Silk Road operation, that has not yet pleaded guilty or accepted a plea agreement. The other two are Australian Peter Nash who entered a guilty plea and was sentenced after being deported in 2015 and Andrew Michael Jones of Virginia who pleaded guilty in 2014 as part of a plea agreement and is currently awaiting sentencing.

In June 2018, prosecutors announced the extradition of yet another defendant to the US, Roger Clark from Thailand, who is charged in connection with Silk Road. He is accused of being Ulbricht’s right-hand man.

Ulbricht himself was sentenced to life in prison in May 2015. He is serving five sentences concurrently with no chance of parole. One for 20 years, another for 15 years, the other for 5 years and two for life.

Proceedings not over yet

Even though Davis is playing the victim card saying it is a case of mistaken identity, completely unaware that his scanned ID was found on Ulbricht’s computer, his proceedings will continue on 20th September.

It is claimed that he allegedly received weekly payments of $1,500 from Ulbricht and served as a customer care agent listing drugs on the website after authorities found messages that Gary Davis sent using the name Libertas. If sentenced, it will sure be severe as he has no new information to leverage with.

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