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Prosecutors Want Evidence Against Bridges Kept Sealed As Investigation Continues; Additional Bitcoin Theft Claimed

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:47 PM
Lester Coleman
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:47 PM

Federal prosecutors say details about the second arrest of Shaun Bridges, a former U.S. Secret Service agent charged with stealing in the Silk Road investigation, must remain sealed, in part, because they believe there are one or more co-conspirators, according to a filing  in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.

Authorities charged Bridges and former DEA agent Carl Force with stealing from Silk Road during the investigation following the trial and conviction of Ross Ulbricht, the mastermind of the online drug marketplace who went by the name, “Dread Pirate Roberts.”

Bridges pled guilty last year and was sentenced to nearly six years in prison for stealing $800,000 worth of bitcoins from Silk Road drug dealers, according to ArsTechnica . He used administrative privileges from an arrested Silk Road administrator.

The theft led Ulbricht to allegedly commission a “hit” on a former employee. The “hitman” was an undercover individual operated by Force, a DEA agent.

Police Rearrested Bridges

Police rearrested Bridges on Jan. 28 at his home after finding him with a bag containing corporate records for three offshore accounts, a bulletproof vest and a passport, CCN.com reported.

He has been in custody since then and has sought to unseal the evidence against him so he could defend himself and recover his property. He claimed he has been denied his freedom and property without any showing of wrongdoing.

Prosecutors urged the judge to keep the evidence under seal since they are still investigating the full extent of the crimes.

Co-Conspirators(s) At Large

“Although Bridges himself is in custody on that underlying case at present, his co-conspirator(s) remain at liberty and thus, disclosure of the details contained in the search warrant could jeopardize the new investigation by alerting additional targets of the investigation,” the filing stated. “In addition, it would alert Bridges as to the government’s knowledge and investigation at this point – things that may aid Bridges and/or his co-conspirators in covering up the full extent of their crimes.”

The government stated Bridges committed “a series of additional crimes, including crimes that took place both before and after the date of the entry of his guilty plea and sentencing.”

Also read: Silk Road Agent Shaun Bridges Gets 71 Months In Prison

The Investigation Continues

Bridges’ reason for unsealing the warrant does not outweigh the government’s interest in protecting its investigation, the filing noted. While Bridges claims he needs the information in order to recover his property, his wish ignores the fact that he is in custody and is not entitled to possess such property in a custodial setting.

Bridges’ request also ignores the fact that portions of the seized property belong to the government. The seized property was stolen by Bridges, including a MacBook computer that Bridges stole when he left the U.S. Secret Service. The property will not be destroyed, the filing noted, and thus, Bridges suffers no irreparable harm due to the government holding the property seized pursuant to a lawful search warrant.

Prosecutors claim the evidence of additional crimes was discovered while searching Bridges’ house a day before he was scheduled to surrender himself to prison, according to arstechnica.com. Police found corporate documents of offshore companies, a passport, and documents connected to Bridges’ wife’s effort to gain citizenship in a foreign country.

The nature of the additional crimes remains uncertain, although a filing  dated Feb. 17 said investigators were aware of “additional thefts of bitcoins from Secret Service accounts” that they believe Bridges was involved in along with others.

Featured image from Shutterstock.