Australian government considers extraditing Australian alleged to be moderator of now-defunct Silk Road

By Nicel Jane Avellana

Mar 22, 2014 10:45 AM EDT

The Australian government is thinking of whether to extradite Peter Phillip Nash, a resident of Queensland, to the US on allegations that he was one of the moderators of Silk Road, Reuters reported. Silk Road is the website that was shut down after a raid by the Federal Bureau of Investigation last year after it was found to be a black market where people buy narcotics using the crypto-currency known as the Bitcoin, the report said.

In December, the 41-year old Nash and two other men were charged with conspiring to engage in drug trafficking, computer hacking and money laundering because of their activities in Silk Road. A spokesperson for Australian Attorney-General George Brandis said Nash had formally relinquished extradition rights in a Queensland court, the report said.

The report quoted the spokeswoman as saying, "The Australian Minister for Justice must now determine under section 15B of the Extradition Act whether to surrender Mr Nash to the United States of America."

According to the December indictment which was unveiled to the public, Nash served as Silk Road's primary moderator while the two other men aged 24 and 25 years old were the administrators of the black market website. The two other men were apprehended in the US and Ireland, the report said.

The charges lodged against the three were made after Ross Ulbricht, the alleged operator of Silk Road, was apprehended in October. The indictment said Nash and the two other men made up the "small support staff" of Ulbricht who goes by the online name of "Dread Pirate Roberts." They were said to receive annual salaries of anywhere from $50,000 to $75,000. Nash, who had been known to be a moderator since at least the beginning of last year, was also known by the online handles of "Batman73" and "Anonymousasshit," the report said.

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