Shaun Bridges, former US agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration plead guilty on August 31 to charges of wire fraud and money laundering. Bridges will be sentenced by a judge in December and faces a maximum 20 years in prison and US$250,000 fine.
Bridges, 33, appeared in a San Francisco Federal Court admitting to extortion, moving US$800,000 in bitcoin under his possession along with obstruction of justice in the Silk Road case. After this news, Ross Ulbricht’s Lawyers immediately stated that these charges “remove any question about the corruption that pervaded the investigation of Silk Road.”
During the hearing, US District Judge Richard Seeborg ordered Bridges to wear an electronic monitoring device at his residence because prosecutors were informed hours earlier he tried to change his name during the trial. Federal agents learned that Bridges had made multiple attempts to change his identity, including his social security. The investigation found a few illegal firearms with the former officer as well. The Baltimore-based taskforce’s other member, Carl Force, of the DEA unit also admitted to guilt back in June for the same crimes.
In a release given to the public by the US Department of Justice (DOJ), Assistant Attorney General Caldwell said:
“Law enforcement officers who cross that line not only harm their immediate victims but also betray the public trust. This case shows we will act quickly to hold wrongdoers accountable, no matter who they are.”
Representatives from the Ulbricht family told the press that this acknowledgement shows corruption in the criminal case against Ross. The family is using this evidence with their federal appeal against Judge Forrest’s decision.
The California judge will issue the sentencing in December for the former agent. Bridges faces 20 years in prison for his plea to charges of money laundering and obstruction of justice. The federal affidavit indicates that Bridges initiated eight bank transfers of approximately US$100,000, and two equaling US$250,000 between 2013 and 2014. He will remain under electronic surveillance up until his sentencing for being a flight risk.
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