A former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent was sentenced to 78 months, or 6.5 years (six years and six months) in prison on Monday for Bitcoin theft during the probe of Silk Road by the government and for clandestinely asking for payment from the online black market’s operator for information on the investigation, reported Reuters.
The report identified the sentenced agent as Carl Force, who confessed to charges of obstruction of justice, money laundering and extortion.
The presiding judge, U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg, said the scope of his betrayal was “breathtaking.”
An 87-month sentence had been requested by U.S. prosecutors, whereas Force’s attorneys asked for a four-year jail time, suggesting that because of mental health issues he deserved less time.
Force apologized to the American people, and to his family, in court, saying, “I’m sorry, I lost it and I don’t understand a lot of it.”
After staying operational for more than two years, Silk Road was shut down in October of 2013. The online black market had generated more than $214 million in sales of drugs and other illicit goods using Bitcoin before it was closed, said prosecutors.
Silk Road’s creator, Ross Ulbricht, who authorities say used the alias “Dread Pirate Roberts,” was sentenced to life in prison back in May following the finding of a federal jury in Manhattan that he was guilty of several charges including distributing drugs through the Internet.
Reuters reported that during the probe, prosecutors also reached a plea deal with ex-Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges, who was charged along with Force in March with Bitcoin theft. Both Bridges and Force belonged to a Baltimore-based federal task force that probed Silk Road, with Force playing a big role by communicating with Ulbricht while posting as a drug dealer by the name of Nob, said prosecutor.
Image: public domain from a copyright standpoint, but other restrictions apply. Unauthorized use of the DEA seal, name, and initials are subject to prosecution under Federal Criminal law, including 18 U.S.C. § 701, § 709, and § 712.