These backroom dealings first came to light during Ulbricht's trial earlier this year, when reams of chat logs between the two found on Ulbricht's laptop were released. But before that, very few would have known the true extent of Variety Jones's involvement in Silk Road.Even then, only tidbits about this character had emerged, and since Ross Ulbricht was arrested in a San Francisco library in October 2013, Variety Jones had all but vanished entirely.That is, until he started posting on a forum two years later.Earlier this year, Motherboard published an investigation into the identity of Variety Jones. Building on the previous work of the independent researcher La Moustache, that piece relied on a source who had gained independent access to an email account used by Variety Jones. That information connected the Variety Jones alias to either a Roger or Thomas Clark, and, at the time, efforts to reach Mr. Clark were unsuccessful.Then, around 12 days after publication, "Plural of Mongoose," another long-dormant alias that others have linked to Variety Jones, came online, and started posting on a cannabis enthusiast forum in his characteristic, whimsical style."So I've got this trip planned, to the Big Apple. Golly gee and shucks, I shure am looking forward to seeing the big city 'n stuff," he wrote, before implying he was going to prison. "I'm not sure exactly where I'm gonna be staying when I get there, but I'm pretty sure it's going to be one of them 'state of the art' facilities, if you know what I mean."
"Plan on being gone at least a week, possibly longer"
"Smokebreaks," the administrator of the forum where Clark made his public re-emergence in September, posted on his forum this month that "I thought [Plural of Mongoose] was completely full of shit when I left the bar that night," referring to an evening that he supposedly shared with Clark several years ago.
"I'm not wandering around with a Canadian passport that identifies me as Mr. Clark, eh"
Throughout our exchanges, Clark did very little to incriminate himself. When questions would stir toward the Silk Road, he would deflect or simply ignore them, and he claimed to have not read any articles about his supposed involvement in the drug marketplace. He never said that he was Variety Jones.Days before he was arrested, Clark told me he was holed up in a remote area, where anybody coming to bust or harm him would have to pass by the houses of local residents, as well as a myriad of guard dogs. He was still adamant that "Diamond," the supposed handle of the corrupt FBI agent, was hunting him.Apart from that, life was "boring" at that moment, he said. After recovering from a flu, he said he had gotten drunk for a few days and watched The Martian at an IMAX cinema.Finally, the skin of wit, jokes, and deflections around Clark started to peel away. He said that all of this running from the police wasn't as fun as he made it out to be.On the same day that the US Attorney's Office announced Clark's arrest, his spokesperson contacted me, apparently at the request of his client. "He is currently in Klong Praem remand prison," Kem Kang told me in an email, and at the time of writing, Clark is still awaiting extradition to the United States.Kang also said that Clark wanted "to fight the extradition charges." However, a Thai news site quoted the local police as saying that Clark will be sent to the United States next month.While in prison this week, Clark, under the moniker Plural of Mongoose, somehow made several posts to the cannabis enthusiast forum that he used for his public emergence, supposedly from a hidden mobile phone."Well, so far, this is fun," he wrote on Sunday."Like the guy falling off of the Empire State Building, when asked at the 50th floor how it was going? Responded 'So far, so good.' And I have to say the same."Although I only got a glimpse of what one of the most infamous characters of the dark web is really like, it was clear that for him, this was all just part of his life."Anyways, as any member of the old guard can tell you, I live for this shit!"
Finally, the skin of wit, jokes, and deflections around Clark started to peel away