Variety Jones and Smedley
According to security researcher Runa A. Sandvik, Variety Jones joined Silk Road in 2011 as a marijuana seed vendor, opposed to the war on drugs. Working closely with Ross Ulbricht, he was to act as a penetration tester, financial advisor and mentor, and was the person who suggested the "Dread Pirate Roberts" title Ulbricht used. According to seized chat logs, Jones was also the one to suggest the first alleged murder for hire, though it did not actually take place.
Smedley joined the site as a coder following the Gawker user influx as a relatively highly paid employee. Unfinished projects included encrypted email system "Silk Mail" and other prospective financial and internet projects. At times it appeared Smedley reported directly to Jones.
Research into these individual's identities has been conducted via tracking blockchain Bitcoin transactions, confidential sources, rare Thai marijuana seeds and rationalisation of aliases. Consequently, it has been suggested Smedley's true identity could be Mike Wattier, a U.S. web developer living in Thailand. Variety Jones could be Roger Thomas Clark, a Canadian also living in Thailand. On December 3, 2015, Clark was arrested in Thailand and faced extradition to the United States.
Nearly a year after his arrest and detainment in Thailand, Clark claimed he had "top secret information" for intelligence officials close to Prayuth Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand's military government.
While fighting extradition in Thailand, where he slept on a concrete floor, Clark maintained that he had knowledge of a corrupt FBI agent involved with Silk Road.
Clark was extradited to the United States on June 15, 2018. He was charged with narcotics trafficking conspiracy; narcotics trafficking; distributing narcotics by means of the internet; conspiracy to commit, and aid and abet, a computer hacking conspiracy; conspiracy to traffic in fraudulent identification documents; and money laundering conspiracy.
- Greenberg, Andy (1 April 2015). "Silk Road Boss' First Murder-for-Hire Was His Mentor's Idea". Wired. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
- Bearman, Joshuan. "The Untold Story of Silk Road, Part 1". Wired. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
- Adrian Chen (1 June 2011). "The Underground Website Where You Can Buy Any Drug Imaginable". Gawker. Archived from the original on 26 July 2012. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
- Cox, Joseph (10 September 2015). "These Are the Two Forgotten Architects of Silk Road". Vice.
- Cox, Joseph (4 December 2015). "FBI Says Suspected Silk Road Architect Variety Jones Has Been Arrested". Vice. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
- "Exclusive: Our Thai prison interview with the alleged top advisor to Silk Road". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2018-06-11.
- "Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Extradition Of Senior Adviser To The Operator Of The "Silk Road" Website". U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved 2018-07-02.
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