The Australian government is deciding whether to extradite the moderator of the shuttered black market website Silk Road, Peter Phillip Nash. He was arrested in Australia and two of the site’s administrators were arrested separately in the U.S. and Ireland as they were reviving the site into a “Silk Road 2.0” back in December. They had been charged with conspiracy to engage in narcotics trafficking, computer hacking and money laundering.
Silk Road, dubbed as the internet’s biggest black market for illegal drugs, aimed to facilitate such transactions anonymously through enabling sales with bitcoins. It was shut down in October and its owner Ross William Ulbricht was arrested and accused of drug trafficking, soliciting murder, facilitating computer hacking, and money laundering. All of the site’s 26,000 bitcoins were seized by the FBI, in addition to what was assumed as Ulbricht’s personal fortune of 144,000 bitcoins. Today, the combined haul is worth nearly $100 million.
Nash appeared in court last week and formally waived his extradition rights. A spokeswoman for the Attorney-General said, “The Australian Minister for Justice must now determine under section 15B of the Extradition Act whether to surrender Mr Nash to the United States of America.”
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A forum post from October, attributed to Nash, said:
“It is highly likely these formed are under LE control, please exercise EXTREME causation if you are still using this site. The criminal co,plaint indicates that the servers have been imaged since mid-2012, they have accress to all site communications (PMs etc.), and the only way to take down a .onion site other than by compromising the private key associated with it is by seizing the server, right now it seems that that is now the case. This will be my final post on these forums and I needed to say what an honor and a privilege it has been to serve the SR community. My best advise right now is to consider the worst case scenario and plan accordingly.”
If extradited to the United States and found guilty, the charges entail a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.