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Utah man recounts fake death plot to escape the darknet

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — A Utah man who as soon as was once persuaded through federal brokers to go through fake torture — or even his personal fake death — is in any case telling his wonderful tale.

It’s a made-for-the-movies drama of ways he was entangled with a infamous site known as Silk Road run through a mysterious determine who known as himself “Dread Pirate Roberts.”

“I feel terrible,” stated Utah County resident Curtis Green. “There’s terrible guilt. I really wish I hadn’t gone to the Silk Road.”

Once known as “the Amazon of illegal drugs,” Silk Road was once amongst the first and indisputably the best-known of the so-called darknet drug-dealing websites. Green’s non-public involvement led to a nightmarish set of occasions this is so unusual and dramatic that he was once ready to promote his film rights years in the past.

In reality, the Silk Road saga has already been changed into a screenplay through the movie-making Coen Brothers.

Green’s unique film contract silenced him for years, however he’s loose to communicate now along side the newsletter of his new e-book, “Silk Road Takedown.” In a blurb on the again quilt, the e-book is billed as the tale of a “Mormon grandfather,” on this case a grandfather who stumbled down an digital pathway right into a felony empire that was once all however invisible to most of the people.

Green isn’t pleased with what took place.

“The embarrassment that I brought to my family,” Green stated in an interview. “It was a terrible ordeal that I don’t wish upon anybody.”

His involvement started in 2011 as an off-shoot of his hobby in a brand new virtual forex known as bitcoin. With subtle laptop equipment in his Utah County house, Green started producing bitcoins thru a procedure known as “bitcoin mining.” That sooner or later led him to Silk Road, a site that was once one thing like Amazon.com with the exception of that consumers and dealers may just stay nameless and use supposedly untraceable bitcoins as an alternative of cash.

“I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” Green stated not too long ago.

Some pieces introduced on the market on Silk Road had been prison, some had been for sure no longer. It was an excellent industry deal with in the so-called darknet for drug sellers.

“The things that were illegal on the site were actually a minority,” Green stated. But some Silk Road shoppers weren’t handiest purchasing and promoting unlawful medicine and guns, some had been even providing themselves as “hit men” keen to kill for bitcoins.

Green claims he began innocently in Silk Road chat boards, serving to with technical and drug-related scientific questions. Later, on account of his laptop experience, he was once in fact employed as a salaried Silk Road administrator. He controlled password accounts for patrons, even some who had been purchasing and promoting medicine.

“The way I rationalized it is that I wasn’t dealing in that,” Green stated. “I wasn’t selling or receiving those items.”

The nameless founding father of Silk Road — later published to be Texas school grad Ross Ulbricht — known as himself Dread Pirate Roberts or D.P.R. after a personality in the film “The Princess Bride.” He was once pocketing hundreds of thousands of bucks whilst portraying Silk Road as a fashion of libertarian beliefs.

Green knew his boss handiest through exchanging texts with him on the laptop. “The D.P.R. that I knew was a benevolent, intelligent, smart human being,” Green stated.

When exposure about Silk Road generated warmth in Congress, a number of federal companies introduced investigations, attempting to determine who Dread Pirate Roberts in fact was once. In January of 2013, the investigation landed virtually actually on Green’s doorstep.

It took place as a result of Dread Pirate Roberts fell right into a entice set through a federal secret agent posing as a drug broker on Silk Road. After D.P.R. published Green’s deal with in Utah County to the secret agent, investigators organized to ship a kilo of cocaine to Green’s area. Green claims he was once no longer knowingly occupied with a drug transaction and not knew the cocaine was once coming. But he took the package deal inside of his area.

“Well as I opened it, it plumed out,” dusting his face with cocaine, Green stated. “And I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, what the heck is this?’ and literally within three seconds I heard banging and whatnot.”

The banging was once the SWAT staff breaking thru his entrance door. Green was once arrested and in brief held in the Utah County Jail. During the investigation, he stated he advised federal brokers the whole thing he knew about Silk Road and gave all of them of his usernames and passwords. A couple of days later, somebody the usage of the ones passwords logged into Silk Road and stole bitcoins from consumers and dealers.

“Roughly a half million dollars in bitcoins,”Green stated. “Using my credentials. And so it made it, he physically made it look like I did it.”

Dread Pirate Roberts was once offended about the robbery. He despatched phrase to the undercover federal agent that he sought after Green “beat up” for stealing. So the federal brokers performed alongside. At the Salt Lake Marriott Downtown at City Creek lodge, federal brokers faked Green’s torture and took pictures for Dread Pirate Roberts.

Utah man recounts fake death plot to escape the darknet
(Photo: KSL TV)

“They decided to waterboard me, fake waterboarding, ” Green recalled. “Dunk me in the water and kind of look like I was beat up. And it was very realistic. It was a little too realistic.”

But that wasn’t the finish of it. Dread Pirate Roberts it appears wasn’t happy, in accordance to the brokers.

“The subsequent day they stated, ‘Oh, through the manner, the order modified from “beat up” to “kill.””

The brokers advised Green and his spouse to fake a death image. They did it in their very own house, generating a photograph that presentations a reputedly useless Green mendacity on the flooring with what gave the impression to be vomit on his face. Green and his spouse simulated the impact through splattering his face with Campbell’s soup.

After the brokers despatched the grotesque picture to Dread Pirate Roberts, they advised Green to keep hidden in his house whilst the investigation persevered. He did so for just about a yr, he stated, “having to crawl on my knees from my bedroom to the kitchen so nobody would spot me. I was supposed to be dead.”

Eventually, the feds tracked down Dread Pirate Roberts — Ross Ulbricht — and noticed him the usage of his notebook computer at a public library in San Francisco. The state of affairs led to some other movie-worthy twist.

The brokers feared that if Ulbricht closed his pc all through the arrest, it could encrypt all of his information endlessly in the back of unbreakable passwords. So they improvised a singular course of action for the arrest.

Undercover brokers in the library staged a struggle in the back of Ulbricht’s again to distract him. When he appeared clear of his pc, some other secret agent snatched it away, with a connection nonetheless open to the Silk Road site.

Ulbricht is now serving two existence sentences plus 40 years.

And the fact in any case got here out.

Additional investigation published that two federal brokers had themselves been corrupted through the trap of bitcoins. The two brokers had been the ones who had used Green’s credentials to rip off Silk Road.

“Two people that are deceitful criminals,” Green stated, “and here they were part of the government.”

Carl Force, an agent for the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, and Shaun Bridges of the U.S. Secret Service are actually serving a number of years in jail.

Green himself pleaded responsible to knowingly receiving the package deal of cocaine as a part of a drug deal. But he claims it wasn’t true and that he in fact didn’t know the cocaine was once coming; he stated he pleaded responsible handiest as a result of he sought after to convey his nightmare to an finish.

Federal officers went simple on him in the finish. Green was once allowed to pass loose and not using a jail sentence as a result of he cooperated with the investigation and since he was once the sufferer of 2 rogue federal brokers who horribly mistreated him.

“The bad agents were my get-out-of-jail card, to be honest,” Green stated. “They put me through a year’s worth of — ‘hell’ is not even a term befitting what they did.”

For Green, his spouse and the grandchild they’re elevating, existence is going on after an all-too-close brush with death, on a again alley, off the data freeway.

“I can’t go back and change it,” he stated. “You know, if I could I would. All I can do is apologize, make sure I don’t make the same mistakes twice, and move forward.”

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