Whilst headlines and fund-raising efforts have been concentrated on Ross Ulbricht, accused of being Silk Road mastermind Dread Pirate Roberts, three other men have been stuck in limbo awaiting their fate outside of the limelight. But the three have been spending that time very differently indeed.
In December last year, three arrests were made concurrently in three different countries under the same indictment. Andrew Jones, USA, was accused of being Silk Road administrator “Inigo”; Gary Davis, Ireland, of being administrator “Libertas”; and Peter Nash, Australia, of being Silk Road forum moderator “Samesamebutdifferent” (SSBD).
Of the three co-accused, one has been in prison the whole time. One is under house arrest. One is basically a free man. But their fates seem to have little to do with the roles they allegedly played in the drugs marketplace.
SSBD, according to the indictment, was the lowest-ranked of the three pseudonyms, having a role only in the Silk Road discussion forums and not on the marketplace.
The USA requested Nash’s extradition upon his arrest. Under Australian law, unless the subject of an extradition request can show “special circumstances”, that person must be remanded in custody.
Consequently, Nash was remanded in a Brisbane jail, where he was placed in protective custody when a local newspaper revealed he had worked in a prison before his arrest. Subsequent reports had him bashed by prison guards following a prisoner protest in which he had no part.
Edit: clarification – Nash did not “work in a prison”. In his own words:
I have never worked for a prison, I used to work for disability services supporting adults with intellectual disabilities. It was a forensic service though and classed as medium secure but never a prison. I make that distinction very clearly because I have been a strong advocate for non aversive positive behavior supports my entire career fighting hard to change the landscape of disability support. How ironic I now find myself in the most coercive and aversive service model there is.
Nash was extradited to the USA in June 2014. He is now remanded in a federal penitentiary in New York, meaning he has so far served nine months awaiting trial.
Jones, allegedly Silk Road’s Inigo and longest-serving administrator, was released on $1 million bail, which was raised by his retired parents putting up their home and retirement savings. He is currently under 24/7 house arrest at his parents’ house. As part of his bail conditions, he is not allowed access to any internet-enabled devices as he awaits his trial. His next hearing is next month.
Jones’ mother and fiancée have set up a donation page to assist with his legal expenses and would welcome any assistance – bitcoin or otherwise – they can get.
The USA also demanded extradition of Gary Davis, who they accused of being administrator Libertas. But the Irish authorities handled it a little differently to those in Australia.
Davis was released on bail for a nominal amount on the night of his arrest. Irish courts will grant bail for someone slated for extradition on the same basis as they would for a domestic case; ie if there is no evidence the accused is a flight risk, will tamper with witnesses or commit further serious crimes.
Consequently, by all accounts, Davis attends his hearings as a free man, though he has presumably been relieved of his passport and would need to report in to Irish police periodically. The Irish media does not seem to have had much interest in the case since his arrest.
Ross Ulbricht is in a New York prison and his case is due to go to trial in November