28-year-old Brian Farrell aka “DoctorClu”, a senior admin and second-in-command on Silk Road 2.0, the copycat clone of the original underground darknet website Silk Road was sentenced to eight years in prison.
DoctorClu, the right-hand man to Silk Road 2.0 chief Blake Benthall aka “Defcon” and second-highest admin at Silk Road 2.0 was sentenced to 8 years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of distribution of cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. Brian Farrell, plead guilty in March 2016 and his plea was accepted the following month.
The charge carries a minimum sentence of five years. However, the sentencing for eight years is notably the same prison sentence sought by prosecutors for the government.
Silk Road 2.0 was launched in late 2013, the same year that Silk Road’s founder Ross Ulbricht was arrested with the original website subsequently seized by law enforcement authorities.
In court documents, it is revealed that Farrell’s address was obtained by law enforcement after zeroing in on a Comcast IP address. “I deal with bitcoins,” Farrell had said, while insisting that he had never bought or sold drugs on Silk Road. He stated that the website was the “shady side of bitcoins”.
A month later on January 2, 2015, authorities received evidence from a cooperating witness that Farrell was involved in Silk Road 2.0. With a search warrant, agents seized “various computer media”, drug paraphernalia, silver bullion bars worth $3,9000 and approximately $35,000 in fiat USD, along with three handguns.
Eventually, Farrell stated that the authorities aren’t “going to find much of a bigger fish” than him when asked to identify others involved in Silk Road 2.0.
Farrell was originally charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, an offense that carries a mandatory 10 years in prison. However, he pleaded guilty to a lesser-included offense of the same crime and agreed to the eight-year prison sentence, according to the plea agreement.
The $35,000 in cash and the silver bullion will also be forfeited to the government, in addition to the sentencing.
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