An alleged high-level employee of the dark web market Silk Road was extradited from Ireland to the United States on Friday, the Department of Justice announced.
This follows a years-long legal fight against extradition that failed last month.
Gary Davis, also known as Libertas, is accused of being a salaried administrator on Silk Road, one of the first multimillion dollar dark web markets that took advantage of cryptocurrency. The vast majority of the illicit goods available on Silk Road were illegal drugs but other digital services and goods, including some malware, was available for purchase on the underground market.
Silk Road was shuttered in October 2013 after a high-profile FBI investigation ended with the arrest of Ross Ulbricht, who is now serving a double life sentence in American prison.
It’s difficult to overstate the degree to which Silk Road, for a short but intense period of time, drew global attention as it rose to prominence. At its peak, the marketplace was seemingly impervious to pressure from international law enforcement.
Ulbricht, known as Dread Pirate Roberts, scored interviews where he laid out plans to build an anonymous multibillion dollar company — just before being arrested in a San Francisco public library.
Founded in 2011, Silk Road did things no one had ever seen before. The site was the first to have an Amazon.com-like experience for drugs and other illicit goods based on the technical foundation of the Tor anonymity network. It was also the first to leverage bitcoin, the world’s first cryptocurrency, as a means to discreetly buy goods.
Silk Road’s community, instigated by their leader, were political fire breathers, writing essays on “freedom” and libertarian ideals that were propped up by millions made off things like heroin, keyloggers and almost everything in between.
The federal investigation into Silk Road was an unprecedented cyber-domain undertaking throughout the FBI and DOJ that’s launched the private and public sector careers of some of the prosecutors and agents involved. It also landed multiple corrupt federal agents in prison.
Through the trial and sentencing, Ulbricht maintains the government is both wrong and overreaching. The U.S. Supreme Court last month refused one last time to hear his appeal.
Davis, who will be tried in a Manhattan federal court, is accused of working at Silk Road from June 2013 until its closure on October 2013. He was arrested later that year.
Silk Road changed the way cybercrime worked both in form and scale, effectively moving a profitable little dark industry of copycats and admirers. Although many underground markets have since been taken down by international law enforcement pressure, the way both police and criminals work online today are in various ways influenced by the strange new world forged by both the creators and users of Silk Road.
You can read the full indictment against Davis and his alleged co-workers here.