Two months after its high profile closure, the controversial Internet black marketplace known for hawking illicit nothings Silk Road has gathered further arrests and allegations in its wake. According to ABC, 40 year old Brisbane man Peter Phillip Nash was arrested on Friday by the Australian Federal Police, over allegations of his involvement in the Silk Road before its recent shutdown. The arrest was reportedly coupled as an indictment issued by the US in a continent-spanning operation that also saw the arrests of two men in the US and Ireland.
Reporting on Nash’s arrest in his home on Friday, the ABC claims the allegations against the man were “for conspiracy to traffic narcotics, conspiracy to commit computer hacking and conspiracy to commit money laundering”. SBS today reports that Nash was employed by Silk Road’s infamous founder Ross William Ulbricht (aka Dread Pirate Roberts) as of January this year; Nash’s role allegedly involved the moderation of the site’s discussion forums, and SBS reports he was paid a salary of somewhere between $US 50,000 – $US 70,000 per year to fulfil the role.
While Nash’s trial will not begin until February next year, the extradition case may be lengthy and covering uncharted legal territory, considering the nature of Silk Road’s dark web postcode. If found guilty, according to the ABC, Nash’s maximum sentence could be life in jail.
In October, after arrests across the world of some of Silk Road’s most high profile and successful sellers were taken out, The National Crime Agency in the US issued a warning to Silk Road buyers, sellers and employees: “The hidden Internet isn’t hidden and your anonymous activity isn’t anonymous… We know where you are, what you are doing and we will catch you.”
Whether that message seeps through to the overhauled Silk Road 2.0 which launched weeks after the FBI shutdown of its predecessor is yet to be seen.