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  • The pair are charged with bitcoin theft.

    The pair are charged with bitcoin theft. | Photo: Reuters

Published 30 March 2015

The agents exploited the anonymity of the Silk Road drug-trading website to extort funds while investigating the online-market, the U.S. government alleges.

Two U.S. law-enforcement agents stole and used for personal gain the digital currency Bitcoin while investigating drugs market website, Silk Road, the government claimed Monday.

While infiltrating the illicit site, often described as the “Amazon of the drugs trade,” the pair are alleged to have taken advantage of the anonymity offered by the so-called “dark web” on which the site ran, to do illicit activities.

Carl Mark Force IV, a Drugs Enforcement Administration agent, “stole and converted to his own personal use a sizable amount of Bitcoins,” while investigating Silk Road.

“Rather than turning those Bitcoin over to the government, Force deposited them into his own personal accounts,” the criminal complaint added.

The other agent, Shaun W. Bridges, who worked for the Secret Service, awarded himself some US$800,000 in bitcoin that came into his control during the investigation.

Both agents resigned when their work came under scrutiny.

The founder of Silk Road, Ross W. Ulbricht, was convicted last month on various charges.

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