A Vancouver man identified as James Ellingson, 42, is wanted by the United States of America as an alleged drug trafficker who had used the once dark web market, Silk Road. He is said to be a vendor selling hard drugs such as meth, cocaine and heroin.
The suspect was arrested on October 29 in Vancouver, Canada on charges for importing narcotics and money laundering between 2011 and 2013. He is also charged with conspiracy to violate the United States narcotic law.
The evidence implicating the suspect was found by the United States of America’s investigators, who were analyzing data belonging to Ross William Ulbricht, the founder of Silk Road. Despite the request by U.S. law enforcement to hold the suspect in custody in Canada, Justice Joyce DeWitt-Van Oosten gave a ruling to release him.
The suspect is alleged to have made over $2 million from his lucrative dark web business of drug trafficking.
According to an affidavit by DeWitt Van Oosten, since the Silk Road founder was arrested back in October 2013 and convicted and sentenced in 2015, the Feds have been analyzing the market’s server to bring down other related users. From the database servers, the investigators identified records of transactions and private text messages of Silk Road users.
According to the United States report on the suspect, he was alleged to have used an online handle, “Marijuanaismymuse.” Using this handle, the suspect received lots of Bitcoin in payments from the Silk Road founder, Ulbricht. It was also observed that the transactions for the account occurred from November 2011 to October 2013.
Some of the drugs that the suspect was paid for included Ice meth, heroin, cocaine, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA), and marijuana. With strong evidence gathered, the United States of America is linking the suspect to the account, “Marijuanaismymuse.”
According to the British Columbia judge, some of the drugs that were sent to “Marijuanaismymuse,” were traced back to two Bitcoin accounts which were registered to Ellingson. One of the Bitcoin accounts was opened back in August 2013 using the suspect’s email address, where he also provided his driving license and a utility bill for account verification. The other identified Bitcoin account was opened in May 2013 using his name and Vancouver address.
The United States of America’s investigators also obtained many records from the company, Google, relating to the suspect’s Gmail account. From the files, an email with a username Marijuanaismumuse, which was similar to the account with Silk Road, was retrieved.
According to the ruling, the Gmail account also had details of drug weights, names, and prices that were very consistent with what was collected from Silk Road servers.
According to the United States of America, the suspect is said to be in contact with Ulbricht, and he received Bitcoin payments under the username identified as Redandwhite. On a laptop which was recovered from the Silk Road founder, a folder labeled as “save red” contained photos referenced in his communication with Redandwhite. The photos revealed a lot about the relationship between Ulbricht and Ellingson.
They clearly showed some packaged drugs, Canadian currency, and a man standing in front of a building. The U.S detectives closely linked the man in front of the building to the suspect as the photos seized showed a similar face to that in Ellingson’s driving license.
According to DeWitt Van Oosten, the United States of America’s detectives are yet to finalize their investigations and are finding more compelling evidence to support their extradition request for the suspect.
She also noted that the suspect had previous records which included three convictions for possessing illegal drugs and, also, one conviction for drug trafficking. According to her, the suspect has also been convicted of possessing a restricted weapon and criminal harassment.
Nonetheless, she accepted the suspect’s lawyer’s argument that the crimes were committed long ago when he was a drug addict. Therefore, she agreed to release the suspect on a hefty surety of $75,000 and other strict conditions.
According to her, despite all the charges against the suspect, she was satisfied that Ellingson proved his detention in custody and the case on extraditing is not justified. He will, therefore, have to wait until the investigators convince the court to rule on his extradition case.