A SENIOR Queensland public servant helped run an international drug ring from his office inside Wacol prison, police allege.
Peter Philip Nash faces extradition to the US to answer charges of conspiracy to traffic narcotics, computer hacking and money laundering.
At the time of his arrest, the behavioural scientist was also under investigation by the Crime and Misconduct Commission for allegedly smuggling a dangerous sex offender out of jail for a meal at Hungry Jack’s.
Nash, 41, was arrested in December at his New Farm home by Australian Federal Police – the very day he was to fly to Paris to get married.
Nash, and others, allegedly were paid salaries for working on an online marketplace known as Silk Road, launched in 2011 and known as the “eBay for drugs” by the FBI.
The FBI said Silk Road processed transactions worth about $1.2 billion in scores of countries before it was shut down.
Silk Road let users buy and sell drugs and guns, arrange access to hitmen and stolen credit card information, as well as buy legal goods via anonymous Bitcoin transactions, they said.
Ross William Ulbricht, named as the owner and creator of Silk Road, was arrested in San Francisco last October.
He has pleaded not guilty to a range of charges tied to his alleged activities with Silk Road, including a so-called “kingpin” charge often reserved for organised crime groups. Ulbricht will go to trial in November.
British-born Nash is listed in the indictment filed in New York as the website’s primary moderator and was allegedly paid between $US50,000 and $US75,000 a year.
In the indictment filed in Manhattan Federal Court, prosecutors allege Nash went by the aliases ‘Batman73’ and ‘Anonymousasshit’.
Two other alleged Silk Road employees, Andrew Michael Jones, 24, of the US, and Gary Davis, 25, of Ireland, were also named.
Days before his arrest, friends said Nash was flashing a $23,000 engagement ring and gushing about a European honeymoon. And on Facebook, Nash wrote: “Packing for a cold Christmas and snowboarding, woohoo!!’’
The Courier-Mail understands Nash was paid $40,000 in relocation expenses to move to Brisbane after being recruited in the UK in 2009.
He was snared in a global investigation by the FBI and the US Drug Enforcement Administration with help from the Australian Federal Police. His extradition hearing is to start in Brisbane next week.
A senior clinician in the prison’s forensic disability unit, Nash worked predominantly with disturbed and criminally insane prisoners.
The Courier-Mail understands he was paid $150,000 a year.
Nash aroused suspicion at Wacol by insisting on having two computers, one of which was later found to have encryption software installed. A
CMC investigation began after a complaint from the Ethical Standards Unit that Nash had allowed a dangerous prisoner to accompany him on an outside visit.
Nash was charged with narcotics conspiracy, which carries a sentence of 10 years to life in prison; conspiracy to commit computer hacking, and money laundering conspiracy.
A Department of Communities spokesman said the Government could not comment on the case.