DEA agent pleads guilty to accepting Silk Road funds

Carl Mark Force IV could face up to 60 years in prison

A second federal agent has pleaded guilty to corruption charges related to the Silk Road, an online marketplace for drugs and fake IDs.

A second federal agent has pleaded guilty to corruption charges related to the Silk Road, an online marketplace for drugs and fake IDs.

A Drug Enforcement Administration agent intimately involved in the Silk Road investigation admitted on Wednesday he secretly accepted bitcoins from the underground website's operator and illegally took other funds.

Carl Mark Force IV, who was a DEA agent for 15 years, pleaded guilty to money laundering, obstruction of justice and extortion under color of official right, according to the plea agreement, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Force could face up to 20 years in prison on each of the counts.

Force, who was based in Baltimore, was part of a multi-agency task force investigating the Silk Road, an underground marketplace for goods such as drugs and fake ID documents. It was shut down in October 2013.

Its operator, Ross Ulbricht, was sentenced to two concurrent life sentences and 40 years of additional terms. Ulbricht plans to appeal based in part on the actions of Force and a Secret Service investigator, Shaun Bridges.

Force was accused of having the DEA freeze the account of a Silk Road user and transferring the $297,000 into his own personal account rather than to the agency.

He also took two payments of bitcoins directly from Ulbricht, totaling about $148,000, in 2013. Using two online nicknames -- French Maid and Nob -- he convinced Ulbricht he had inside information about federal investigations into the Silk Road.

Bridges, who was charged with money laundering and obstruction of justice, took more than $800,000 worth of bitcoins from Silk Road using a hijacked administrator account, the DOJ said. He also reached a plea agreement with prosecutors.

The involvement of two corrupt federal agents in the Silk Road investigation has given Ulbricht's attorney, Joshua Dratel, fuel for an appeal. He has claimed the investigation was flawed and that the government concealed evidence necessary for his client's defense.

Although Dratel knew of the investigation of Force during the trial, he was not allowed to introduce facts about it into evidence. The involvement of Bridges was revealed in March, weeks after Ulbricht was convicted on Feb. 4.

Send news tips and comments to Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags U.S. Department of JusticeCriminalsecuritylegalcybercrime

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?