Silk Road

Real Silk Road Crimes

Biting Bitcoin


Months after convicting Ross Ulbricht for facilitating the sale of illegal items via the darkweb site Silk Road, the federal government arrested two of its own agents who investigated Ulbricht. Carl Force of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Shaun Bridges of the Secret Service now face charges for actual theft and fraud.

Force is accused of extorting bitcoin from "Dread Pirate Roberts," the pseudonymous operator of Silk Road, under various fake identities, and keeping the money himself. He also got a job as "compliance officer" for a bitcoin exchange while still working for the DEA and stole nearly $300,000 from other people in that capacity. Bridges was accused of funding companies of his own with bitcoin that the feds believe were originally stolen from Silk Road by Bridges.

Ulbricht's defense team said that they were peeved that, even though the federal government had been pursuing the case against its agents for many months before Ulbricht's trial, this evidence of corruption and criminal tactics in taking down their client was never revealed to them.

Among the revelations from the probe into Force and Bridges: An Internet libertarian who wasn't Ross Ulbricht became a prime suspect for a while because he used terms investigators associated with Dread Pirate Roberts. The supposedly suspicious terms included "agorism," "counter-economics," and "anarcho-capitalist."