Monday 24 October 2016

US seeks extradition of Irishman to face 'Silk Road' charges

Published 14/07/2015 | 19:06

Gary Davis, of Johnstown Court, Kilpedder, Co Wicklow, pictured at the Four Courts for a High Court action.Pic: Courts Collins
Gary Davis, of Johnstown Court, Kilpedder, Co Wicklow, pictured at the Four Courts for a High Court action.Pic: Courts Collins

THE United States claims a Wicklow man was the administrator of a Silk Road website which offered anonymity to those both selling and buying items including illegal drugs and hacking software.

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Gary Davis, aged 27, of Johnstown Court, Kilpedder, Co Wicklow, is wanted for trial by US authorities on charges of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, conspiracy to commit computer hacking and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

If convicted he could receive a life sentence.

Counsel for Mr Davis said he was a "vulnerable person" who suffers from both a form of autism known as Asperger's Syndrome and depression.

He was opposing the extradition request on a number of grounds.

They include that if extradited, he would be detained in the US in conditions that are inhuman and  degrading.

It is also argued the formal extradition request is flawed and "lacking in clarity" and the details of the charges against him are vague.

It is further argued Mr Davis should have been charged with corresponding offences in Ireland.

The court heard the DPP has not investigated nor had any intention of charging Mr Davis in relation to his alleged involvement with the Silk Road website.

The US request for Mr Davis's surrender opened today before Mr Justice Paul McDermott.

The Silk Road, which was shut down by the FBI in 2013, was an underground website that hosted a “sprawling black market bazaar” on the internet.

Mr Davis is accused of acting as a site administrator on the Silk Road website using the name ‘Libertas’. He was first arrested on foot of a warrant issued by the High Court in 2014.

The Attorney General says  the charges against Mr Davis in the US are quite clear.

There is nothing that precludes the court from making an order for Mr Davis's extradition because some of the offences he is facing may not have been committed within the territory of the United States, the AG argues.

It is the US' authorities case that between June 2013 and October 2013 Mr Davis was a site administrator of the Silk Road website and had an "explicit knowledge of the items for sale on the website".  The drugs available on the site included heroin, LSD, cocaine and amphetamines.

The site, which allegedly facilitated money laundering, also had a black market directory that allowed buyers the ability to set up anonymous bank accounts and counterfeit bills.

The hearing continues.

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