Sum up: The Arrest of Silk Road Admins/Mods SSBD, Libertas & Inigo

8 minute read

Posted by: DeepDotWeb December 21, 2013

Update: Warning – Sr2.0 & DPR might be compromised!

As we have already reported about the arrest of Inigo yesterday we can now confirm (yes, a bit too late as i was offline today) the arrests of the two other silk road admins / forum moderators samesamebutdifferent (SSBD) & Libertas, The confirmations were received from various sources such as an official press from the Manhattan U.S. Attorney:

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Charges Against Three Individuals In Virginia, Ireland, And Australia For Their Roles In Running The “Silk Road” Website (link to the original release):

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, George Venizelos, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), Brian R. Crowell, the Special-Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), and Toni Weirauch, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (“IRS-CI”), announced today the unsealing of an indictment against ANDREW MICHAEL JONES, a/k/a “Inigo,” GARY DAVIS, a/k/a “Libertas,” and PETER PHILLIP NASH, a/k/a “Samesamebutdifferent,” a/k/a “Batman73,” a/k/a “Symmetry,” a/k/a “Anonymousasshit,” in connection with their alleged roles in operating “Silk Road,” a hidden website designed to enable its users to buy and sell illegal drugs and other unlawful goods and services anonymously and beyond the reach of law enforcement. JONES was arrested in Charles City, Virginia, on December 19, 2013, and was presented in Richmond, Virginia in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia today. DAVIS is believed to be in Ireland. NASH was arrested in Australia on December 20, 2013, by the Australian Federal Police in Brisbane, Australia. All three individuals are alleged to have conspired to run the Silk Road website with Ross William Ulbricht, a/k/a “Dread Pirate Roberts,” a/k/a “DPR,” a/k/a “Silk Road,” the alleged owner and operator of Silk Road, who was previously arrested in San Francisco, California, on October 1, 2013, pursuant to a Complaint filed in Manhattan federal court.

According to the allegations in the Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court, and the Complaint previously filed against Ulbricht:

From about January 2011until October 2, 2013, the “Silk Road” website hosted a sprawling black-market bazaar on the internet, where illegal drugs and other illicit goods and services were regularly bought and sold by the site’s users. During its more than two-and-a-half years in operation, Silk Road was used by several thousand drug dealers and other unlawful vendors to distribute hundreds of kilograms of illegal drugs and other illicit goods and services to well over a hundred thousand buyers, and to launder hundreds of millions of dollars deriving from these unlawful transactions.

Ulbricht, the owner and operator of Silk Road, ran the website with the assistance of a small support staff, including both site administrators and forum moderators. The site administrators were responsible for, among other things, monitoring user activity on Silk Road for problems, responding to customer service inquiries, and resolving disputes between buyers and vendors. The forum moderators were responsible for, among other things, monitoring user activity on discussion forums associated with the site, providing guidance to forum users concerning how to conduct business on Silk Road, and reporting any significant problems discussed on the forums to the site administrators and to Ulbricht. Ulbricht paid the site administrators and forum moderators salaries ranging from approximately $50,000 to approximately $75,000 per year for their services.

JONES and DAVIS worked as site administrators on Silk Road. NASH worked as the primary moderator on the Silk Road discussion forums. JONES, DAVIS, and NASH were each paid salaries by Ulbricht for their roles in connection with Silk Road.

JONES, 24, of Charles City, Virginia, DAVIS, 25, of Wicklow, Ireland, and NASH, 40, of Brisbane, Australia, are each charged with one count of narcotics conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison; one count of conspiracy to commit computer hacking, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; and one count of money laundering conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and its New York Special Operations and Cyber Division, as well as the outstanding investigative work of the DEA’s New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force, which comprises agents and officers of the DEA, the IRS, the New York City Police Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (“ICE”) Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), the New York State Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Marshals Service, Office of Foreign Assets Control, and NY Department of Taxation. Mr. Bharara also thanked the ICE-HSI Chicago-O’Hare office for its assistance and support, as well as the Department of Justice’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Office of International Affairs. Additionally, Mr. Bharara praised the foreign law enforcement partners whose contributions to the success of the investigation and prosecution have been invaluable, namely, the Australian Federal Police, the Irish Republic’s Computer Crime Investigation Unit of the An Garda Siochana, the Reykjavik Metropolitan Police of the Republic of Iceland, and the French Republic’s Central Office for the Fight Against Crime Linked to Information Technology and Communication.

Mr. Bharara also noted that the investigation remains ongoing.

The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Serrin Turner is in charge of the prosecution, and Assistant United States Attorney Christine Magdo is in charge of the forfeiture aspects of the case.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

It was also tweeted on the FBI official twitter account:

This is the full 13 pages indictment document that was released regarding the 3 mods that were arrested:

It appears that these arrest were the fallout from the arrest of Ross Ulbrichts, the alleged owner of the first silk road that was known by the alias of “Dread Pirate Roberts”, and that the information which led to these arrests was gathered from hes computers or from the servers he owned that were seized during the first Silk Road bust at the beginning of October, it was suggested by few distinguished members on the (new) silk road forums that prior to hiring the silk road’s staff – Ross had collected from them all their personal information such as real names, addressees, Id numbers and work places, and kept this info on one of the electronic medias that were seized – leading for these arrests. These are the forums posts that suggested this:

</a>The arrests today were the continued fallout of the Silk Road 1.0 seizure. Three moderators that were heavily involved in the previous operation were taken into custody. This was done via the data retrieved following Ross’ arrest. Some are out on bail but for obvious reasons, they are unable to provide status updates for you all. DPR is currently weighing his options on how to proceed going forward, but rest assured that he is ensuring the safety of all those involved.</p> I received the following in the last little while:</p>

As a respected member of the forums, I thought i’d pass on some insight
around the arrests of Inigo, Libertas and SSBD so hopefully you can dispel
some myths that are going around.

DPR required dox from each person before he gave them admin access so he
would have either had their details on his computers or he’s turned them
over to LE. DPR did checks on each of these three guys including their
names, addresses and work places before granting them admin status and
each of them willingly complied and handed him this information which
was then accessed by LE one way or another. It’s as simple as that.

The second assumption on the forums  was that Ross actually handed the information to the FBI, this (unconfirmed, obviously) assumption became even more popular when a Reuters article mentioned that Ulbricht’s lawyer, Joshua Dratel, has been discussing a possible plea deal with prosecutors.

Another interesting point was the last post on the vendor roundtable that was posted by one of the mods / vendor, (to be deleted by him later) suggesting that SR2.0 itself or DPR2 is Compromised to some extent this is the post as it was quoted by a Tormarket Member before it was deleted:

Guys I was arrested yesterday and out on bond now. But something is fucked! I know I’m risking more warning you guys and my attorney doesn’t even want me on the internet but you guys need to know this. When I was in the interview room they showed me all sorts of shit that they should not know or have access to including conversations I’ve had with buyers and even DPR. I don’t fucking understand.. and when I was in there I was at a loss for words. Something is definitely wrong and they have the ability to see things on here only mods or admins should like btc transfers and a dispute I had. WHAT THE FUCK?


Which one is the correct one?  we cannot know, but this is a very strong indication that its not just a SR1 fallout but a potential security breach on Silk Road 2.0.

Later, the forbes article that was published earlier regarding this matter By Andy Greenberg was updated, stating:

A statement from prosecutors forwarded to me by an FBI spokesperson says that Jones was arrested in Charles City, Virginia, and Nash by Australian Federal Police in Brisbane, Australia. Davis, according to the statement, is “believed to be in Ireland,” and may still be at large.

This adds up to the common info on the forums assuming that Libertas was an important figure on the first silk road.

We feel very bad for these yet another 3 victims of the war on drugs, and we will  be following and releasing more information as we will have it.

Updated: 2013-12-21