Canadian man accused of advising black market website Silk Road creator extradited to US from Thailand

Prosecutors charged Roger Thomas Clark with narcotics trafficking, computer hacking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 June, 2018, 6:15am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 June, 2018, 6:15am

A Canadian man accused by US authorities of acting as a senior adviser to the jailed creator of the underground Silk Road website was extradited to the United States from Thailand on Friday, federal prosecutors said.

In a newly unsealed indictment, prosecutors charged Roger Thomas Clark with crimes including narcotics trafficking, computer hacking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. Clark was arrested in Thailand in 2015 at the request of US authorities.

Prosecutors have said Clark was the “right-hand man” of Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht, who is currently serving a life sentence.

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Silk Road, an online black market where illegal drugs and other goods were sold using the cryptocurrency bitcoin, was shut down in October 2013 when authorities seized the website and arrested Ulbricht.

Clark, 56, also faces up to life in prison if convicted of the charges, according to the office of US Attorney Geoffrey Berman.

He appeared at a brief hearing in Manhattan federal court Friday afternoon, where he did not seek bail. His lawyer, Stephanie Carvlin, declined to comment on the charges.

Jurors in February 2015 found Ulbricht, of San Francisco, guilty of seven counts for helping to enable illegal drug sales. He was sentenced three months later by US District Judge Katherine Forrest.

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Prosecutors said Ulbricht ran Silk Road under the alias Dread Pirate Roberts, a character from the novel popularised by the 1987 movie The Princess Bride, and that drugs distributed on the website were linked to at least six overdose deaths.

Clark was described by Ulbricht as a “real mentor” who advised him on how to run the site and avoid law enforcement, according to prosecutors.

William F. Sweeney Jnr, head of the New York FBI office, said Clark pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars while helping Ulbricht.

“Today’s extradition of Roger Clark shows that despite alleged attempts to operate under the radar, he was never out of our reach,” Sweeney said.

Additional reporting by Associated Press