Top Silk Road Advisor ‘Variety Jones’ Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison

Roger Thomas Clark was Ross Ulbricht's confidant who convinced him to carry out an attempted murder-for-hire scheme.
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Hacking. Disinformation. Surveillance. CYBER is Motherboard's podcast and reporting on the dark underbelly of the internet.

The top Silk Road advisor known as Variety Jones, whose real name is Roger Thomas Clark, was sentenced today to 20 years in prison, according to a press release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.


The sentencing caps off one of the few remaining threads of the Silk Road story. Authorities in Thailand arrested Clark in December 2015, around 2 years after the FBI apprehended the underground drug market’s creator Ross Ulbricht in October 2013. Clark provided Ulbricht with advice on all aspects of the enterprise, including urging a murder-for-hire scheme, the press release adds.

“Roger Thomas Clark was a central figure in helping to lead Silk Road and in advocating violence, even murder, to protect this digital drug empire.  Today’s sentence is another reminder that criminal marketplaces, like Silk Road, are a road to prison,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement published with the press release.

Do you know anything else about Roger Thomas Clark or other dark web figures? We'd love to hear from you. Using a non-work phone or computer, you can contact Joseph Cox securely on Signal on +44 20 8133 5190, Wickr on josephcox, or email

Before Clark was arrested, Motherboard and an independent security researcher known as La Moustache revealed in September 2015 that a “Roger Clark” or “Thomas Clark” likely based in Thailand was Variety Jones. That investigation was based on a cache of emails Variety Jones sent as well as other documents, files, and chat logs. That material revealed the backroom dealings of Silk Road, including a planned encrypted email service and Bitcoin exchange, and showed that in some cases it was Variety Jones that ordered certain Silk Road employees around.

In his own journal, Ulbricht constantly pointed to Variety Jones as an inspiration. He wrote that Variety Jones “helped me see a larger vision,” and that he “was the biggest and strongest willed character I had met through the site thus far.”

Clark previously pleaded guilty on January 30, 2020, the press release adds.

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