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aka: The Rise and Fall of the Nod Empire
January 24, 2014 7:16 AM   Subscribe

The final confessions of a Silk Road kingpin Patrick O'Neill recently undertook an astonishingly open set of interviews with Nod, a major black-tar heroin and cocaine dealer who traded on Silk Road. By our third phone call, Steven Lloyd Sadler was a fugitive. Facing federal charges for drug trafficking and distribution, Sadler decided he'd rather skip the trial and jail sentence altogether. He was pulling away from Seattle, where he was charged, and we talked for hours. He began that particular conversation on speakerphone, attempting to circumvent the state’s law prohibiting the use of cellphones while driving, but noisy interference forced him to pick up the call. [...] "They'll be pretty pissed off at me," he said, referring to his federal public defenders.
posted by jaduncan (28 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Apparently the new anarchy is just drug dealing. If you build an anonymous network, they will come . . .
posted by Ironmouth at 7:36 AM on January 24


i don't know, sounds like the police did him a favor: if Sadler was this dumb with the feds, just imagine how SOL he would have been when the people who are actually good at organized crime came knocking.
posted by ennui.bz at 7:46 AM on January 24 [4 favorites]


It's interesting how many huge mistakes he made, repeatedly, in his operations.
posted by aramaic at 7:47 AM on January 24


Strange article... Hard to tell if it's a pose or not, but Sadler/Nod just comes across as stunningly naive and foolish. Stuff like:
"I thought customs didn't care," Sadler recalled. "It turns out they do."
and
"'I didn't think they'd find all the drugs,' he told me. 'They did, and I was fucked.'"
Assuming he's sincere, how did he think it wouldn't end badly? Was it just class priviledge-induced blindness? Whatever you think of the drugwar, it's been ongoing for decades, the feds know how to do this stuff. Weird.
posted by Wretch729 at 7:51 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


The article makes it sound like he's a user as much as a dealer. Never a super good combination.
posted by selfnoise at 8:00 AM on January 24 [3 favorites]


The thing about Silk Road is the people using it really, truly seemed to believe that they'd found a way they would be totally untouchable by the government forever? Maybe because they got away with it so long? But I remember when DPR got arrested, the relevant Subreddits were full of people going "I know you shouldn't buy anything under your own name and should have everything shipped to a dead drop but I did everything under my name and had it shipped to my house." Apparently the techno-libertarians really went in on the "TOR is untouchable forever WOO ANARCHY!" thing.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:01 AM on January 24 [9 favorites]


Why does this clown get a public defender?
posted by Ideefixe at 8:09 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


well, if all your assets are seized because they were illegal profits, you don't have any money to hire your own lawyer.
posted by k5.user at 8:10 AM on January 24 [4 favorites]


Why does this clown get a public defender?

Because he's accused of a serious crime?
posted by jaduncan at 8:11 AM on January 24 [18 favorites]


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by infinitewindow at 8:30 AM on January 24


Yeah, it's depressing for me to have to remind of this, but the right to a defense attorney is a bulwark of our criminal justice system. Civil cases don't have a guaranteed defense, which is one of the reasons the mere threat of those suits is so punitive.
posted by JHarris at 8:49 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


Because he's accused of a serious crime?

I imagine Ideefixe's question was not "why does he get legal representation at all" but "how does he qualify for legal aid when he surely has sufficient means to hire his own lawyers"?
posted by yoink at 8:51 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


He seems to have a very poor sense of possible consequences in everything he does. It sounds like he made a lot of serious decisions on whims rather than research or planning. That's pretty ordinary.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:55 AM on January 24


"Don't get high on your own supply" is as true as it has always been.
posted by scruss at 9:03 AM on January 24


Why does this clown get a public defender?

Because he's accused of a serious crime, he otherwise has no money so can't afford a lawyer and the cynical view would be the public defenders are lawyers who couldn't get hired by law firms and the job of the public defender is to make moves which will make appeals hard because the court process was walked through.

He may be a clown, but due process* must be done.

(*Due Process for the poor. If you are racing cars in the street and are famous or a well connected to the political process you get a different process than the poor.)
posted by rough ashlar at 9:06 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


when he surely has sufficient means to hire his own lawyers

Once the Government has filed a case of United States VS a pile of money exactly how will you get enough money together to hire a lawyer to file a case to get your money back?
posted by rough ashlar at 9:08 AM on January 24


Don't do product, kids.
posted by vibrotronica at 9:21 AM on January 24


I'm gonna start an advocacy group for him. The Brotherhood of Nod.
posted by gucci mane at 9:31 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


In all seriousness I feel bad for him. He shouldn't have snitched, and now his life is screwed for it. Not only did his snitching do absolutely no good, but now everyone knows he's a snitch. And I agree, for all that he talked up making himself look good in the marketplace, he was really naive about how everything operated.
posted by gucci mane at 9:34 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


the cynical view would be the public defenders are lawyers who couldn't get hired by law firms and the job of the public defender is to make moves which will make appeals hard because the court process was walked through.


The cynical view would be quite wrong. Public defender's offices in major metropolitan areas are usually quite competitive, and federal public defender's offices in these areas are even more competitive. Federal public defenders do have problems in terms of funding, staffing levels, and so on, but the people are very, very sharp - and a case like this is probably going to have the best people in the office involved. I expect that Sadler has excellent legal representation.
posted by Mr. Excellent at 10:16 AM on January 24 [5 favorites]


He shouldn't have snitched

Why do you say that? It sounds like the smartest decision he made. What he shouldn't have done was become a cocaine and smack dealer. Also when he decided to become an informant, he should have had something better than an "unspoken agreement" to guarantee his legal situation. I'll blame his public defender for that though, or whoever was handling the negotiation process that included lots of actual, written agreements like his bond terms.
posted by Nelson at 12:49 PM on January 24


Seattle Slacker. Guess that proves IT sucks balls. But i knew that already.
posted by Colonel Panic at 2:32 PM on January 24


Silk Road has become the current HEY I TOLD YOU TO STAY AWAY FROM BUYING DRUGS ON THE INTERNET example, but, due to media exposure, they had just become the site which the DEA had to crack down on to save face. Yes, the DEA is constantly trying to shut down drug sites, but people are still buying drugs on the Internet. Some smaller (European) countries are more successful in intercepting drug shipments than is the USA. But, this is a Homeland Security (formerly Customs) issue, not exactly a DEA issue, as I understand it.
posted by kozad at 7:43 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]




The thing about Silk Road is the people using it really, truly seemed to believe that they'd found a way they would be totally untouchable by the government forever? Maybe because they got away with it so long?

I had an argument about this earlier: he thought that the government couldn't track Silk Road deliveries and wouldn't care to; I said no, they actually track every parcel and if they find one Silk Road delivery they can use its characteristics to identify all similar deliveries. Which means that anyone who didn't use a dead drop may be totally fscked. Or not. We're all guilty, and we deserve our punishments, every one of us.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:06 PM on January 25


Then agents searched his home and found drugs, supplies, and well-kept records that Sadler thought might remain hidden. The drugs, according to the evidence log, were stashed in the ceiling, next to various paraphernalia and documents.

"I didn't think they'd find all the drugs," he told me. "They did, and I was fucked."


These guys always think they are so smart. How many hundreds or thousands of hours have those cops spent searching for hidden drugs? They know where people hide things, as a rule. Hey, I bet they'll never look in the ceiling! The DEA has intercepted toilets made out of cocaine, they know about ceilings.
posted by thelonius at 4:07 PM on January 25


Dead End on Silk Road: Internet Crime Kingpin Ross Ulbricht's Big Fall
According to a recent study by Addiction journal, nearly 20 percent of drug consumers in the U.S. used narcotics bought on Silk Road. By facilitating more than a million transactions, the site generated the equivalent of more than $1.2 billion in revenues during its two-and-a-half-year run. With approximately $420 million in commissions, the feds allege, it made Ross Ulbricht one of the most successful entrepreneurs of the dot-com age.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:48 AM on February 4




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