DEA agent gets 6.5 years in Silk Road case

Washington (AFP) - A former US Drug Enforcement Administration agent was sentenced to 6.5 years in prison for extortion and money laundering in connection with the Silk Road investigation.

On top of his jail time, Carl Force was ordered to pay $340,000 in restitution and to serve an additional three years of supervised release.

Force, 46, pleaded guilty in July in federal court in San Francisco.

He is one of two federal agents so far who have been charged with crimes in connection with their roles in investigating Silk Road. Force had served as a DEA agent for 15 years.

Shaun Bridges, a special agent with the Secret Service, obtained access to a Silk Road website administrator account just before a huge theft of Bitcoin from the website.

In August, Bridges pleaded guilty to taking more than $800,000 of electronic Bitcoin currency while investigating Silk Road.

On the side, Force allegedly created unauthorized fake identities to communicate with Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht, also known as "Dread Pirate Roberts," using PGP encryption software.

With one of these identities, he offered to sell information about the investigation for $100,000 worth of Bitcoin.

Among the charges, Force admitted he had entered in a $240,000 contract with 20th Century Fox Film Studios to help make a movie about the government's Silk Road probe, without obtaining the required DEA approvals to do so.

Ulbricht, the site's creator, was sentenced to life in prison in May for charges including money laundering and drug trafficking.

On the Silk Road website, illegal transactions could be conducted secretly in Bitcoin.

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