Free Stater Alleged to be Silk Road Admin
Free State Project participant Andrew Michael Jones of Norfolk, Virginia was arrested in December of 2013 along with others accused of being the operators of the Silk Road underground marketplace. Andrew is alleged to be the longtime site administrator, "Inigo". Thus far, almost all of the news headlines about the Silk Road arrests have gone to Ross Ulbricht, who is accused of being the infamous site's creator and head admin, "Dread Pirate Roberts". Andrew is accused of similar allegations as Ross, "conspiracy to commit money laundering, narcotics trafficking, and hacking" and is facing spending the rest of his life in federal prison.
While Ross Ulbricht was not offered bail, Andrew was able to get out on $1,000,000 bail thanks to his parents, who did not have anything close to that amount of money, so they put up their house and retirement incomes to secure a bond. His bail conditions include 24/7 house arrest at his parents' houseand being strictly forbidden from using any internet capable device. His girlfriend, Birdie, (who is also a Free State Project participant) is the one who reached out to me and she and Andrew's family have set up a website to accept contributions to his legal fund, as they can use all the help they can get.
Andrew's mother, Judy Jones, 68, told me this about him, "He's very bright, kind, generous and has always been an idealist. When he first told me about bitcoins, he helped me envision a world where the central banks are no longer in charge of money. If it were instead a peer-based monetary system, so much good can come from that. I have hope for a better world thanks to his generation (the Millennials)."
Unlike Ross' case, Andrew does not face the "kingpin" charge. Plus, he has not been libeled with allegations of murder for hire, as Ross has. Hopefully, that will help with this fundraising ability. He has retained the services of attorney Samuel M. Braverman and the bill will likely be very expensive.
As have many activists looking at moving to New Hampshire, Andrew and Birdie made the pilgrimage to Keene in December of 2012 and came to visit Social Sunday. I met both of them there and truly hope he can get through this difficult time with the minimum damage possible. If Andrew did not administer the Silk Road, then he's a man wrongfully accused, but if he did, he's a hero. The Silk Road was (and is) the most important development to happen to the black market in our lifetimes.
It has reduced harm caused from unscrupulous dealers selling bunk product in the streets and has reduced violence by making both sides of each transaction anonymous, and separating them by distance. No one can get beaten or killed in a Silk Road transaction and the underground marketplace has a ratings system, ensuring the quality dealers are easy to identify. This open, yet anonymous competition for international business results in product quality and selection going up while prices come down from what one would pay on the streets. The Silk Road has literally saved lives, both of dealers as well as users who would have overdosed on bad street drugs, but instead were able to get good quality product from the Silk Road. If Andrew Jones was involved in the Silk Road enterprise, he should be given an award, rather than prison time. Of course, that would be in a just world that understands the insanity of drug prohibition, or any prohibition for that matter.
Stay tuned to Free Keene for the latest on this case.
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