The struggle between the U.S. government and founding members of the Silk Road has finally hit somewhat of a notable moment. In a court battle that has been continually delayed, a judge has ordered that the suspected Silk Road admin Gary Davis aka Libertas surrender himself to the United States for trial & possible imprisonment.
Gary Davis, 28, is currently a free man in Ireland who has been fighting against being extradited to the United States since 2014. After Ross Ulbricht was arrested and the Silk Road was shut down by the FBI, U.S. law enforcement hunted down other administrative members of the website. The U.S. indicted the alleged Silk Road admins on charges of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, money laundering, and computer hacking. Davis faces a max sentence of life in prison. When the U.S. indicted the three Silk Road administrators, two of them were outside the country. Peter Nash aka SSBD was arrested in Australia and extradited to the U.S. Andrew Jones aka Inigo, allegedly the longest serving SR admin, was arrested in Virginia, requiring no extradition.
Unlike Australia, Ireland treats extradition requests a little differently. When Davis was arrested, he was released on bail not long after. Ireland, according to the U.S., has not been investigating the charges Davis has facing him in the U.S., nor do they intend to. It was believed that the 28-year-old was “on the run” but an unidentified source informed the media otherwise. The FBI even flew to Ireland with the intention of detaining Davis and questioning him in regard to “being a moderator on a website allowing transactions to facilitate the sale of drugs online.”
Being free on bail, he has attended his extradition hearings as a free man since the very first occurrence in February of 2014. It’s taken two years but a decision has finally been made. Justice Paul McDermott ruled that Davis is to be surrendered to the U.S. The judge rejected every reason Davis had in objection to the U.S’s request, including that his Constitutional rights and rights under the European Convention on Human Rights would be breached.
Davis has opposed the request majorly based on his mental health conditions. His lawyer, John O’Kelly SC, claims that Davis is a “vulnerable” person and suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome as well as depression. According to The Irish Times Davis also believes that if he was extradited and detained in the U.S, he would be held in “inhuman and degrading conditions in breach of his rights.” If he was found guilty in the United States, Davis would likely be held in a medium security correctional institution that could have serious effects on his mental health.
The court agreed that were criticisms to be had regarding the U.S. penal system but they were “satisfied that the US authorities would act to protect Mr Davis’s mental and physical well being and take appropriate steps to address any symptoms of depression and anxiety. He would be accommodated as person with Aspergers Syndrome within the prison system.” There is a system in place to monitor and asses those with mental conditions in U.S. prisons, Judge McDermott conveyed to the court.
Although Davis claimed he would become suicidal and ultimately end his own life if he were to be kept in the medium security prison, the court was satisfied with the measures in place for the evaluation, treatment and assessment of new arrivals at the U.S. prison. In addition to believing the extradition would not cause Davis any major mental harm, the Judge McDermott expressed concern that Davis had not been in treatment for his conditions nor had been in any therapy.
It was also discovered that the legal battle between Microsoft and the FBI/DoJ involved Davis’s emails.
Davis has 10 days to file an appeal to the ruling, giving him an opportunity to remain in Ireland a bit longer.