The latest character to be thrust into the seemingly never-ending Silk Road saga is one James Ellingson. Ellingson fits the profile of your run-of-the-mill drug vendor. He has a criminal record that precedes his time on the now-defunct Silk Road where he allegedly racked up $2 million selling drugs.
The 42-year-old is perhaps more suitably introduced as a hitman that was allegedly sought out by Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht during his tenure at the helm of the drug-fueled market where he was known as the one and only “Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR).”
Alleged Hitman Used the Alias ‘Redandwhite’
Canadian authorities arrested Ellingson in Vancouver nearly a month ago after investigations led them to believe that he was the man behind the darknet handle “redandwhite.”
Although his arrest had been in the works since January this year following a warrant issued by a New York federal magistrate judge, the 42-year-old former Silk Road vendor and purported hitman managed to make bail in a British Columbia court, thwarting the authorities’ efforts to keep him locked up.
Despite evidence from the 2015 Ross Ulbricht trial suggesting that redandwhite and Ulbricht had plotted to carry out a murder within the first week after they started communicating, no records of an actual murder occurring during that time frame were ever brought forth.
This lends to the belief that redandwhite could be one of two things: a drug dealer who also carried out occasional hits, or a drug dealer who also carried out occasional scams.
Origins of Ellingson’s Involvement
Ellingson came into the picture in March 2013 after a feud between two Silk Road users, FriendlyChemist and LucyDrop, devolved to a point where the identities of 24 Silk Road vendors, including nine high-profile ones, were under threat of exposure. FriendlyChemist wanted to blackmail DPR, leveraging the real identities of several vendors as well as thousands of customers as a means to get what he wanted.
Things escalated quickly from here. First, the LucyDrop account became inactive, but was soon replaced by another account by the name RealLucyDrop, which claimed that FriendlyChemist had betrayed them and led to their arrest. DPR, determined not to be strong-armed into handing out his money, tried to convince RealLucyDrop to hand over FriendlyChemist’s real identity, but instead, he was later contacted by redandwhite, who introduced himself as part of the group that FriendlyChemist owed.
If the username didn’t clue you in, redandwhite claimed to be part of a drug ring / motorcycle gang known as Hells Angels, an outfit that controlled the movement of illicit substances in a large portion of western Canada. Red and white are the gang’s colors.
DPR initially saw the chance to recruit redandwhite to be one of the vendors on his thriving market, but soon got down to business on how the FriendlyChemist issue could be handled with the least amount of commotion. He offered to put a bounty on his head on March 29 that same year. The hitman allegedly sent photo evidence of the murder a few days later after he and DPR had agreed on a price.
Ellingson’s story got even more complicated when police linked him to another drug vendor’s account named Marijuanaismymuse. As it stands, British Columbia Judge Justice DeWitt-Van Oosten believes that other people could be behind the Marijuanaismymuse account.
Already, court documents have placed a man known only by the initials D.A.L. behind the Marijuanaismymuse account, who was slapped with a civil forfeiture claim worth $1.4 million earlier this year by British Columbia authorities.