Last week, we presented the details behind the closure of the Silk Road website and the sentencing of its kingpin, Ross “Dread Pirate Roberts” Ulbricht to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Silk Road was an online black market where criminals could go to anonymously buy contraband and high powered weapons with Bitcoin. The criminal venture lasted two years before the feds intervened and shut it down.
Now, the “architect” of Silk Road named Variety Jones (real name Thomas Clark) is turning himself in and coming forward with information about a rogue FBI agent who has been hunting him, according to VICE. Variety Jones is said to be Ulbricht’s “mentor,” advising him on Silk Road’s finances and security. On Sunday, Variety Jones wrote a lengthy letter on a pro-cannabis online forum telling the saga. Under the name “Plural of Mongoose,” Variety Jones wrote:
This is the story of what I’ve been doing the last two years. The story of $75,000,000 of pirates treasure in bitcoins. The story of a rogue, highly placed member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who has been making better than an average of a $1,000,000 a month, committing felonies with wild abandon, just because he can. The story of a bent Federale who has leaked me secret grand jury information in an effort to keep me *out* of the hands of his colleagues. The story of an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York who, in spite of being made aware of much of this, has chosen to do nothing, likely so as to not embarrass his office and politically minded boss. That hasn’t even got me started on the kidnapping and torture plot. Don’t worry, I’ll get to it, but it’s nasty.
Variety Jones claims that he was contacted by an anonymous source, who later called himself “Diamond,” who said he could provide information on investigations into black market web enterprises, months after Silk Road was shuttered. Diamond revealed that he was an FBI agent and had provided similar information to other “dark web marketplaces.”
Diamond verified himself as an FBI agent to Variety Jones after giving information on the investigations into law enforcement officials Carl Mark Force IV and Shaun Bridges accused of stealing funds from Silk Road. According to VICE:
Diamond also claimed to be doing a robust business in reaping bitcoins by trading in information and blackmailing dark web marketplace owners. Diamond informed Variety Jones about the imminent closure of the Evolution marketplace in mid-March, allegedly because of an extortion campaign Diamond carried out against them.
Diamond had interest in contacting Variety Jones because he claimed to be in possession of a Bitcoin wallet belonging to Ulbricht containing over 300,000 Bitcoin, worth about $70 million. Bitcoin wallets are password protected, and Diamond believed that Variety Jones knew it, given his capacity with Silk Road.
Variety Jones claims that Diamond wanted him to move to Singapore “where he can set up a safe house and know that I’m clear of the clutches of the DOJ [Department of Justice].” Furthermore, Diamond informed Variety Jones that immigration police were on his trail in Thailand where he was living. When Variety Jones refused, he says Diamond made threats:
“If I ever fucked up and fell into the hands of the Feds, he had the reach and knew the people, and most importantly had the funds, to have me killed,” Variety Jones wrote.
After this, Diamond supposedly made an extraordinary claim: “He would kidnap Ross Ulbrichts sister, or mother, or ideally both. Get a video capable phone in front of Ross Ulbricht, and he’d give up that fucking pass phrase, and Diamond would have them tortured until he did,” according to Variety Jones.
Variety Jones claims to have emailed Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Serrin Turner, Ulbricht’s prosecutor, and warned him of Diamond:
Under the circumstances, I’m very concerned about falling into the clutches of Diamond, or subjecting myself to custody of the U.S. justice system, where considering the money involved, I would be in fear for my life.
I contacted you as it is obvious that Diamond has information that is closely related to investigations that your office is involved in. It occurs to me that your office may in fact believe that you are au fait with the situation vis-Ã -vis Diamond, inasmuch as this may all be the result of a sanctioned investigative process. If that is the case, may I suggest that it has run off the rails quite some time ago.
I intend to uncover the identity of Diamond; I have a pretty good idea how to go about that, and if you and/or your office are unable or unwilling to assist, perhaps you could pass my information on to someone who can.
Read the full letter from Variety Jones, here. Warning: It’s very long.