An Irish citizen accused in the United States of conspiring to distribute narcotics while working for the Dark Net illicit marketplace Silk Road has been sentenced to six years’ (78 months) imprisonment in the State of New York as well as 3 years’ of supervised release.
He will also pay a fine of $25 000 USD.
The accused, Gary Davis (AKA “Libertas”), fought extradition for four years.
Davis’ defense team characterized the Metropolitan Correctional Centre where he would be held as “The Guantanamo Bay of New York,” and said he would not receive proper care for his Asperger’s while awaiting trial in the US.
Irish Attorney General, Remy Farrell, questioned the seriousness of Davis’ condition and once told the court that Davis suffered, “a mild case of Asperger’s brought on by a bad case of extradition.”
Davis was eventually extradited, and in September 2018, plead “not guilty” to three charges leveled against him in the state of New York: conspiracy to distribute narcotics, conspiracy to commit computer hacking and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Davis later relented and plead guilty to one charge of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. The other charges appear to have been dropped.
Police were led to Davis when they found a copy of his passport on Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht’s laptop after Ulbricht was ambushed by police at the Glen Park branch of the San Francisco Public Library and his open laptop seized.
Ulbricht is now serving double life plus 40 years after being convicted of narcotics distribution, computer hacking and money laundering.
“From approximately January 2011 until October 2, 2013, the Silk Road website hosted a sprawling black market bazaar on the Internet, where illegal 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 nearly 4,000 vendors to distribute illicit goods and services to more than 115,000 buyers, including hundreds of kilograms of illegal drugs, fake IDs and passports, computer hacking tools and services, counterfeit goods and pirated media, and money laundering services. In total, more than 1.5 million transactions were conducted over Silk Road, with a total value of more than $213 million in U.S. currency. Nearly 95 percent of those sales (approximately $183 million worth) were for illegal drugs.”
With regards to Davis’ particular role at Silk Road:
“GARY DAVIS, a/k/a “Libertas,”…served as a forum moderator…(and) site administrator on Silk Road…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) investigating disputes that arose between vendors (e.g., drug dealers) and buyers, including reporting his findings to Ulbricht; and (3) helping enforce 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 had the ability to demote a vendor or refer the vendor (e.g., to Ulbricht) for further discipline. Ulbricht paid DAVIS a weekly salary for his work as a site administrator.”