July 13, 2018
Contact: Erin Mulvey
Phone Number: (212) 337-2906
Irish man who helped run the “Silk Road” website extradited
Silk Road Website responsible for selling more than $200 million in illegal narcotics, other contraband
NEW YORK - Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that Gary Davis, a/k/a “Libertas,” was extradited from the Republic of Ireland to the United States.
Davis was arrested in January 2014 for charges arising out of his role as a member of the administrative staff of “Silk Road.” During its operation from 2011 until 2013, Silk Road was used by thousands of drug dealers and other unlawful vendors to distribute illegal drugs and other illicit goods and services to more than 100,000 buyers, and to launder hundreds of millions of dollars derived from those unlawful transactions. Davis is expected be presented this afternoon in Manhattan federal court, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn. Davis’s case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “Gary Davis allegedly served as an administrator who helped run the Silk Road, a secret online marketplace for illegal drugs, hacking services, and an assortment of other criminal activities. Thanks to our partner agencies here and abroad, Davis now faces justice in an American court.”
According to the allegations in the superseding indictment, court filings, and evidence presented during the 2015 trial of Ross Ulbricht, Silk Road’s founder:
From January 2011 up to 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 100,000 buyers, and to launder hundreds of millions of dollars derived from these unlawful transactions.
The owner and operator of Silk Road, Ross William Ulbricht, a/k/a “Dread Pirate Roberts,” a/k/a “DPR,” a/k/a “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.
From June 2013 up to October 2, 2013, Gary Davis, a/k/a “Libertas,” the defendant, worked as a site administrator on Silk Road. In that role, Davis’s responsibilities included (1) responding to customer support requests from Silk Road users who needed assistance with their buyer or seller accounts on the marketplace; (2) serving as an arbitrator by resolving disputes that arose between drug dealers and buyers on the site; and (3) enforcing the rules for doing business on Silk Road, which had been set by Ulbricht. For instance, there was a rule against “out of escrow” sales – i.e., sellers and buyers arranging payments off the site to avoid paying Silk Road commissions. When violations of this rule were discovered, Davis could terminate the vendor’s account or otherwise restrict the vendor’s privileges, and he typically reported such incidents to Ulbricht. Davis was paid a weekly salary for his work as a site administrator.
The charges in the superseding indictment against Davis, 30, of Wicklow, Ireland, include: one count of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison; one count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Berman praised the outstanding joint efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and its New York Special Operations and Cyber Division; the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Field Division; Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations - Chicago-O’Hare; and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation’s New York Field Office. Mr. Berman also thanked the Irish Republic’s Computer Crime Investigation Unit of the An Garda Siochana for its assistance and support. Mr. Berman also thanked the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs for their support and assistance.
This case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael D. Neff, Eun Young Choi, and Timothy T. Howard and are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the superseding indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.