A former agent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration who was a key player during the government’s Silk Road investigation was sentenced to 78 months in prison for corruption.
Carl Force pleaded guilty on Monday to charges of extortion, money laundering and obstruction of charges, Reuters reported. He worked undercover for two years for an interagency team tasked with identifying the owner of Silk Road.
Force was the lead agent behind an authorized alias created to communicate with Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht, but authorities said Force also created unauthorized personas to extort $250,000 from Ulbricht and offered to sell information about the information for $100,000. The man also admitted stealing 925 bitcoins worth approximately $100,000 and entering a $240,000 contract—without DEA approval—with 20th Century Fox Film Studios for a movie about the Silk Road probe.
U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg said the scope of Force’s betrayal was “breathtaking,” according to the report.
The Silk Road website operated for two years until federal authorities shut it down in October 2013. During the time, the site generated more than $214 million in sales of drugs and transactions involving a wide range of illegal practices, including hiring hitmen, using bitcoins.
“The idea was to create a website where people could buy anything anonymously, with no trail whatsoever that could lead back to them,” Ulbricht wrote in his journal, according to Mother Jones.
Ulbricht ran the website using the moniker Dead Pirate Roberts from 2011 to 2013, when he was caught red-handed by a law enforcement sting in a San Francisco coffee shop. The 30-year-old Texan was sentenced to life in prison on charges of drug trafficking, money laundering and a whole host of other cybercrimes.
Former Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges, who was charged alongside Force with stealing bitcoins, pleaded guilty to money laundering and obstruction of justice. He admitting to funneling more than $820,000 worth of bitcoins to his personal account after gaining access to Silk Road.
During his sentencing on Monday, U.S. prosecutors asked for an 87-month prison sentence, while Force’s lawyers—citing their client’s mental health issues—appealed for a four-year sentence, Reuters reported.
“I’m sorry, I lost it and I don’t understand a lot of it,” Force told the court, according to the news outlet.