A former Queensland prison employee jailed in New York for allegedly being a key member of the Silk Road online criminal marketplace is negotiating a potential plea deal with US prosecutors.


Peter Nash, 42, is accused of having been the Silk Road site’s primary moderator and faces a life sentence in a US federal prison if convicted.

Prosecutors earlier this month claimed their No.1 target, Silk Road’s San Francisco-based creator Ross Ulbricht, known on the site by the alias Dread Pirate Roberts.

Ulbricht, 30, was found guilty by a Manhattan jury on February 5 of seven counts, including distribution of narcotics, engaging in a criminal enterprise, computer hacking and money laundering. He faces life in jail when sentenced on May 15.

Nash is expected to appear in a Manhattan court on March 13.

“As the court is aware, the parties have been engaged in plea discussions but require additional time to attempt to reach a disposition,” assistant US attorney Daniel Noble told District Court Judge Thomas Griesa in a court filing.

The Silk Road website was used by dealers around the world to sell large quantities of heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and other drugs, as well as computer hacking services, malicious software, fake driver’s licences, passports and car insurance records.

“Silk Road was used by several thousand drug dealers and other unlawful vendors to distribute hundreds of kilograms of illegal drugs and other illicit goods and services to well over a 100,000 buyers, the indictment against Nash alleges.

Nash, a former behavioural scientist at Queensland’s Wacol Prison who went by the monikers Batman73 and Samesamebutdifferent on the site, was extradited to the US in June last year and has remained in New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center ahead of a trial or plea deal.

Nash is charged with narcotics conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, if convicted.

He is also charged with conspiracy to commit computer hacking and money laundering conspiracy.