Chief Investigative Reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.

3 More Charged in NYC for Alleged Roles in "Silk Road" Online Drug Marketplace

The men, from Virginia, Ireland and Australia, worked as website monitors and answered customer service questions

Friday, Dec 20, 2013  |  Updated 9:12 PM EDT
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An underground website called Silk Road that the FBI says served as a major marketplace for drug dealers and hackers has been shut down and the owner has been arrested and accused of trafficking and conspiracy, including a murder-for-hire plot targeting a user of the site. Jonathan Dienst reports

NBC 4 New York

An underground website called Silk Road that the FBI says served as a major marketplace for drug dealers and hackers has been shut down and the owner has been arrested and accused of trafficking and conspiracy, including a murder-for-hire plot targeting a user of the site. Jonathan Dienst reports

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Three more men face charges for their alleged roles in the online black market website known as the Silk Road, federal prosecutors in New York City revealed Friday.

An indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court charges Andrew Michael Jones of Charles City, Va., Gary Davis of Wicklow, Ireland, and Peter Phillip Nash of Brisbane, Australia with one count each of narcotics conspiracy, conspiracy to commit computer hacking and money laundering conspiracy.

Jones, 24, went by the online handle "Inigo" and Davis, 25, used the online moniker was "Libertas" while they monitored user activity and responded to customer service questions as site administrators for Silk Road, according to prosecutors. The 40-year-old Nash — who prosecutors say used online aliases including "Samesamebutdifferent" and "Batman73" — allegedly moderated a site forum.

Jones and Nash, who were arrested this week, and Davis, who is believed to be in Ireland, were paid between $50,000 and $75,000 a year for their work, prosecutors said. A lawyer for Jones didn't return a message seeking comment. It wasn't clear if Davis and Nash had lawyers.

Authorities have said the site's San Francisco operator generated $1 billion in illicit business from January 2011 through September by running the drug-dealing website that used a tough-to-track digital currency called Bitcoin.

Ross William Ulbricht, 29, was arrested in October and is being held in New York for various charges, including for arranging a failed murder-for-hire plot. Prosecutors charge he operated Silk Road under the "Dread Pirate Roberts" alias — an apparent reference to a swashbuckling character in "The Princess Bride," the 1987 comedy film based on a novel of the same name.

Ulbricht hasn't yet entered a plea. His lawyer has said his client is innocent and is not the person who used the "Dread Pirate Roberts" alias.

Last month, another man pleaded guilty in federal court in Baltimore to a drug conspiracy charge for his role in the website.

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