Silk Road Admin Pleads Guilty to Drug-Related Charge

Gary Davis’s short stint as a site administrator on Silk Road has left the Irish national facing up to a period of 20 years in prison should he be convicted on charges of distributing narcotics.

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Former Silk Road admin Gary Davis pleaded guilty of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, a charge carrying a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.

Earlier this month, the 30-year-old pleaded guilty to the charge, acknowledging his administrative role on Silk Road where he went by the alias “Libertas.”

The Silk Road operated for two short years (between 2011 and 2013) during which thousands of drug dealers managed to peddle their illegal wares to buyers numbering in the hundreds of thousands, all under the cover of anonymity.

Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht—who operated using the alias “Dread Pirate Roberts” or “DPR” during his period at the helm of the dark web marketplace—was sentenced to life in prison two years after the site was brought down. That was in 2015, about two years after Davis had stepped down from his role as a site administrator.

Silk Road’s Hierarchy

Federal prosecutors from New York said that Davis operated as a paid moderator on the now-defunct site, a role that came with duties such as responding to inquiries, monitoring user activity, and conflict resolution between buyers and sellers.

The site administrators served below Ulbricht and his advisors, but above forum moderators who primarily monitored how the users of the site interacted and enforced the guidelines on how to transact on the platform, reporting only the issues they couldn’t solve to the admins.

Court documents say that Davis started out in the latter role between May and June 2013 before he was promoted to an administrative role. He acted as an administrator until October 2 of the same year.

Extradition and Prosecution

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Earlier this month, the 30-year-old pleaded guilty to the charge, acknowledging his administrative role on Silk Road where he went by the alias “Libertas.”

Davis had initially intended to fight all efforts of prosecutors to extradite him to the U.S. to appear before the court, but less than three years later, his appeal turned out to be unsuccessful despite claims by his attorneys that he feared how he would be treated in American prisons.

Prosecutors announced his extradition in July, which is roughly four years after he was arrested back in Ireland. On October 5, he stood before U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman and pleaded guilty of conspiring to distribute narcotics, a charge which could put him behind bars for up to 20 years if he’s proven guilty during his sentencing, which is scheduled for January 17, 2019.