ANNOUNCEMENT: Since the Silk Road 2.0 bust by the feds a few other Darknet Markets have fallen. Silk Road 3 is up and running with a big selection of goods.
The mentor of the clandestine operator of Silkroad, Ross Ulbricht (also known as Dread Pirate Roberts), has appeared back online after a long stint of silence. Apart from being his advisor, Variety Jones also made key financial and security decisions on the Silkroad during its operations. He further tried to expand the Silkroad portfolio to other sectors such as installation of encrypted email service.
Based on information sourced from backup logs, Jones had last been active the time Silkroad was being shut down after a sanctioned federal embargo. Thereafter, he maintained a low profile and did not appear on any Silkroad public forum until recently.
The research conducted by an independent researcher by the name of “La Moustache” determined that Variety Jones is likely Roger or Thomas Clark. Though web data showed his account to be operational, efforts to chat with Jones/Clark were unfruitful.
Moreover, another of his old usernames “Plural of Mongoose” has been resurrected on a popular cannabis forum. This is the moniker that led researcher La Moustache to track down Variety Jones, after he started posting long, auto-biographical writings about himself.
Though it’s still uncertain as to where the physical location of Plural of Mongoose is, one of his recent posts hints that he’ll be going somewhere or making a journey of some sort. Which suggests that he might be headed to prison. The man wrote “I’ve got this trip planned…” and he’s looking forward to exploring the big city though not yet sure where to stay upon arrival. Mr. Jones ends the message by giving a chilling premonition that it could be a “state of the art” facility he’s going to, if readers actually know what he means.
It seems as if he has logged back to his old account, with the sole aim of communicating with old contacts before making the alleged trip. Assuming this account is being run by the original owner, and not a third party individual. Variety Jones says he has no idea when he’ll be back from the voyage, which is why the account was revived to have some little conversation with former Silkroad friends, enemies and acquaintances alike before going away.
The posts, some containing as much as 3,000 words, explain how “Plural of Mongoose” was arrested after being found running an underground cannabis business in UK, amongst other related crimes. At one point, Jones even identifies himself as “Roger Thomas Clark,” which were the same names uncovered by researcher La Moustache. Despite these revelations the FBI have not yet given any response as to their next course of action.
During his active years at the Silkroad, Variety played an important role in pointing out security holes on the site which needed immediate fixing. As the Silkroad platform steadily grew, he soon became a staffer and right-hand man of founder Ulbricht.
Due to Jones’s influence, Ross who was operating under the pseudonym of DPR began appreciating just how popular the Silkroad brand could get. In one of his uncovered journals, Ulbricht writes that the man helped him develop a bigger picture of their operations. He helped DPR navigate through uncharted waters which led to further expansion of the website, such as opening of Silkroad exchange, chat, credit union and lottery participation programs.
Recent revelations show that before the federal investigations into Silkroad started, Jones was already planning to shape the Silkroad site into a stronger more tamper-proof entity which could survive years of intense security searches. In fact, there are more than 1,400 chat log pages between Variety Jones and Dread Pirate Roberts. That figure is at least 4 times more than all messages connecting DPR with other employees on the Silkroad platform, clearly showing their business relations were more detailed.
Jones later changed his Silkroad name to Cimon and was present during its active years, giving the operator tips on how to expand until it reached its heydays as the primary online drug bazaar. Ulbricht sought advice from Jones because he was good at adding his own personal touch to the fast emerging Silkroad market. From his activities till date, it’s apparent that Variety Jones has a habit of changing his online moniker every so often, maybe in a bid to confuse federal agents.