Two former federal agents, DEA officer Carl Mark Force IV and Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges who investigated the Silk Road, the infamous online black marketplace seized by the FBI in 2013. Both have been charged for their own outrageous digital crimes, including stealing money they acquired on their druggie undercover assignment additional charges include wire fraud and money laundering and theft of government property.
DEA officer Carl Mark Force IV was actually the lead agent tasked with establishing communication with the Dread Pirate Roberts, but the complaint against him alleges that he did a lot more than that, according to a Justice Department memo stating he “developed additional online personas and engaged in a broad range of illegal activities.” The complaint says he stole from the government and third parties.
Possibly the most condemning charge against DEA officer Carl Mark Force IV which involves the undercover officer secretly screwed with the investigation to make money. The complaint says Force tried to extort Dread Pirate Roberts by saying he’d give the government information unless DPR paid $250,000. The complaint also says that Force created a persona called “French Maid” and convinced DPR to pay “French Maid” $100,000 for information on the government’s investigation.
Meanwhile, Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges used his knowledge of Mt. Gox, the Bitcoin exchange he was also investigating, to divert $820,000 of the money he used undercover into secret personal accounts on the now-defunct exchange. Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges self-surrendered today.
Now we know during the investigation that led to the arrest and controversial trial of Ross Ulbricht, who was convicted on drug kingpin charges for running the site. Two federal agents, DEA officer Carl Mark Force IV and Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges were siphoning off Bitcoin they obtained while sneaking around the drug site undercover.
This looks very promising for Ulbricht, since it makes the Silk Road investigation look enormously corrupt. Two officers full-on breaking the law on the job isn’t exactly a good sign that the case was conducted above-board. With the government agency sketchiness Ulbricht’s defense lawyer Joshua Dratchel filed for a retrial: Dratchel said the government didn’t provide exculpatory evidence in time, and that it conducted warrantless surveillance.
While, Dratchel’s accusations remain unproven, but now it’s clear there was some fraudulent behavior going down on the government’s side.