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That time I visited Roger Clark, aka Mongoose, aka Variety Jones

The man alleged to be Silk Road’s Variety Jones, Roger Thomas Clark, has finally been extradited from Thailand, where he has spent 2 1/2 years in Bangkok Remand, to face trial in the USA.

The pic the prison guard took with my phone

Variety Jones was basically unheard of until the trial of Ross Ulbricht, where he was revealed as a sort of behind-the-scenes puppet master, a Svengali-type figure who, according to the chat logs found on Ulbricht’s computer, was the first to suggest murder as a solution to a problem staff member.

I visited Clark (aka Plural of Mongoose) in Klong Phem Prison several times when researching The Darkest Web. Here’s a taster of what happened:

‘The last thing you fucking want is my undivided attention’. The warning plays through my head as I wait on an uncomfortable wooden stool. There’s a telephone on the bench in front of me and I pick up the receiver as he takes his seat on the other side of the thick Perspex wall, which has been reinforced with steel bars.

‘I want to call you “Mongoose”,’ I blurt out before he can say anything. Before he wound up here, in this bleak and notoriously violent prison, we had conversed online, in private messages on a drugs appreciation forum where he often held court with his outrageous antics and tall tales. He had used the name Mongoose then and, reportedly, when armed police officers stormed his home to arrest him on a slew of charges, he had calmly commanded them ‘Call me “Mongoose”’.

The author of an article recounting some of Mongoose’s older crimes had elected not to interview him, because when people dealt with Mongoose bad things happened: ‘business transactions fell apart, people retired nicknames and dropped from view… [Mongoose] deposited things on people’s PCs via e-mail that gave him access to their personal desktops and files. Frankly, [Mongoose] scared me, and I didn’t consider him a reliable source of information anyway. So why feed his fire?’

‘Please do,’ Mongoose responds politely to my outburst. He looks surprisingly well for a man who has spent nearly two years on remand in Bangkok’s notorious Klong Prem Central Prison. He is fighting extradition to the United States, where he faces charges of being the second mastermind behind the world’s most notorious online drugs market, Silk Road. The other mastermind, his alleged protégé, has already been sentenced to two consecutive life sentences without possibility of parole.

Mongoose used to sign his posts with an explicit threat:The last thing you fucking want is my undivided attention. Right now, the man dubbed the Megabyte Megalomaniac by High Times magazine, aka Mongoose, is indeed giving me his undivided attention.

I hope I don’t come to regret it.

(extracted from The Darkest Web)

 

 

 

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