Earlier last month, Brian Farrell admitted in a Washington District Court to being DoctorClu, a key player in the darknet site Silk Road 2.0.
The original Silk Road was closed by the FBI in the year 2013.
The former administrators launched the second version in November 2013.
The second version of the darknet site was closed down in November 2014.
Brian Farrell’s arrest came two months after the arrest of Blake Benthall, another alleged key leader of Silk Road 2.0, on counts of conspiring to commit computer hacking and money laundering, among others.
Brian Farrell signed a plea agreement in a District Court (Western District) earlier last month, 17 months after the website was shut down.
DoctorClu – The Silk Road 2.0 Employee
Brian Farrell who was arrested in the month of January last year in Seattle, was identified as a key suspect in the Silk Road 2.0 website when researchers of the SEI at the Carnegie Mellon University mounted an attack on Tor anonymity network.
These researchers identified the actual IP addresses of the Tor users who had accessed the hidden services including Silk Road 2.0.
The FBI thereafter subpoenaed the SEI for this piece of information.
that bore the codename DoctorClu.
His work as an employee of the website included handling technical and customer support issues, approving vendors, and promoting other employees.
Brian Farrell was charged with conspiring to possess and distribute drugs such as meth, cocaine and heroin.
He was charged because of his position in the Silk Road site; he allowed drug dealers to sell their wares.
He used the site initially for buying drugs for himself.
After joining the site, he led a DDoS (denial-of-service) attack on a competitor website, the Tor Market, which functioned much like Silk Road.
For some time Brian admitted to playing the role of a spokesperson to Defcon who took control over from the Silk Road 2.0 head, Dread Pirate Roberts 2.
Brian Farrell’s statutory penalties for his wrongdoings come up to about forty years in prison and a whopping fine of $5 million.
He may also be under supervision for four years after his release with a special assessment fee of $100.
However, according to the plea agreement that Farrell accepted, a prison sentence of 8 years has been recommended.
This sentence period is not sure though. Brian Farrell has agreed to make the special assessment fee before the sentence period starts.
Each of the parties is free to make their own recommendations of the terms, including the length of prison term, and the period of supervised release.
It has also been made clear that the court will not be bound by any of these recommendations.
According to reports, the SEI researchers were successful in identifying as many as 78 actual IP addresses those who accessed the Silk Road 2.0’s .onion address.
This fact was noted in the search warrant against Brian Farrell.
It was one of these addresses that led the enforcement officers to Brian Farrell.
Homeland Security officials served a search warrant at Farrell’s residence and arrested him.
The officials also seized drug paraphernalia from his residence.
The bullion silver bars and $35,000 that were recovered when his residence was raided will be forfeited by the accused.
It is reported that Brian Farrell is scheduled to be sentenced on June 3 this year.
The addresses that SEI obtained during their attack on Tor have helped the enforcement agencies to nab more than one criminal.
Two Irish nationals were nabbed in December last year and jailed for drug offenses. Gabriel Peterson Siler, a pedophile, earlier pleaded guilty on one count of child exploitation.
His IP address was also obtained by the SEI during their Tor attack.
In this context, as Peterson Siler and Brian Farrell of Silk Road have both pleaded guilty, it is unlikely that more information from the court will be brought out as regards both the Tor attack by SEI and the communications between the SEI and the Justice Department.