Undercover Agents Plundered the Dread Pirate Roberts

Undercover agents Carl Force (DEA) and Shaun Bridges (Secret Service) are facing charges including money laundering and wire fraud after they plundered the Dread Pirate Roberts.

Photo by: Nicolas Raymond

Photo by: Nicolas Raymond

Who is this Dread Pirate Roberts?

Ross Ulbricht, AKA the Dread Pirate Roberts was owner of Silk Road – an online black market.  Silk Road was an internet platform where illegal drugs and other contraband were sold and purchased.  It ran on the darknet Tor, an anonymous network where users could browse, purchase, and sell without being tracked by authorities.  Regrettably for Ulbricht, Silk Road was tracked and about to be taken down…but not before it was plundered first.

Arr, stole his bitcoins they did

Undercover agents Carl Force and Shaun Bridges were both involved in a task force to bring down Silk Road and its creator, the infamous Dread Pirate Roberts (Ulbricht).  Force was working under the alias of Nob, a big time drug dealer and had been corresponding under that alias with Ulbricht throughout the investigation.  During the investigation of Silk Road, Force and Bridges commandeered the account of  Silk Road admin Curtis Green from Spanish Fork, UT that Force had recently arrested and used his account to steal bitcoins from Silk Road users. Ulbricht discovered that 350 thousand dollars’ worth of bitcoins were pilfered off his website and tracked the stolen funds back to Green’s account.

Dead men tell no tales

After speaking with a close confident and assuming that Green was in fact the one who stole from Silk Road accounts, Ulbricht decided that the scallywag must be dealt the ultimate punishment for the theft- death.  Ironically, he hired Nob (Force) of all people to kill Green.  Curtis Green was willing to cooperate fully with the authorities after he was arrested during a setup by Force, and especially when he heard about the hit that Ulbricht put out on him. Force and Bridges worked together with Green to stage the very realistic appearing torture and murder of Green.  Pictures were taken during the spectacle and sent to Ulbricht for confirmation of the hit.  Not only was the Dread Pirate Roberts satisfied, he paid Force a hefty amount of doubloons for the deed. There were 5 other hits by Ulbricht noted during the investigation, however no more evidence has been located.

Scrub the poop deck or walk the plank?

Ulbricht will find out on Friday is he is facing 20 years or life in prison for his kingpin role in the drug trafficking website.  An intelligent young man that used his talents poorly, Ulbricht begged the judge for leniency in an eloquently written, one and a half page letter. Ulbricht will definitely be serving at least 20 years in prison for his crimes, but he hopes to not spend the rest of his life behind bars.  That dream is a possibility seeing how he is not facing any charges of attempted murder. Why those charges are being left out, one can only assume.  It is possible that bringing those charges to the table will put further light on the warped dealings of the federal agents in this case.  So what is to be done for those crooked agents? At this time, both Force and Bridges are looking at federal charges of money laundering and wire fraud. Force is also facing charges of conflict of interest and theft of government property.

Batten down the hatches

Crimes via the internet are quickly evolving and bringing down savvy, curious computer users in its wake.  Dealing with websites that are run off hidden networks is dangerous and very often involve illegal activity.  If you are someone you know has gotten involved in illegal internet activity, contact a criminal defense attorney that understands the laws pertaining to internet crimes.

Man Arrested for DUI After Hitting Sheriff’s Vehicle

DUI charges

Photo: Weber County Sheriff’s Office/KSL News

Icy roads were to blame for many accidents on Saturday, Jan. 10, but it was driving under the influence (DUI) that landed one man in jail. Other charges included drug possession and leaving the scene of an accident.

“Wrong Place at the Wrong Time” Doesn’t Mean You can Leave

According to a report from KSL News, on Saturday evening, Weber County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene of several accidents in Ogden Canyon near 4500 East, just east of the Pineview Reservoir spillway. Four vehicles had slid off the road due primarily to the icy conditions (the DUI would come shortly). Fortunately only minor injuries were reported, however, deputies were on the scene to shut down State Route 39 while road crews could put down salt and sand.

At approximately 10:40 p.m., one deputy had his patrol pickup truck parked with his overhead flashers on to stop oncoming traffic when another pickup truck came around a corner at high speed, lost control, and crashed into the back of the deputy’s vehicle. The driver of the truck sped off, and the deputy was able to pursue in the damaged vehicle, catching him near the spillway.

The driver of the truck, Bruce Southwick, was arrested for investigation of DUI, drug possession, and leaving the scene of an accident.

DUI Severity Depends on Circumstances

While most people think of a DUI as referring to alcohol, according to Utah Code 41-6a-502, a person is guilty of a DUI if he/she is driving “under the influence of alcohol, any drug, or the combined influence of alcohol and any drug to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely operating a vehicle.” Given the fact that Southwick also was charged for drug possession, this is probably the case.

The lowest charge for a DUI is a class B misdemeanor, even on a second offense. It goes up to a class A misdemeanor if the driver inflicts “bodily injury” on another, had a passenger under 16 years of age, or was 21 years of age or older with a passenger under 18 years of age. The charge jumps to a third degree felony if the driver inflicts “serious bodily injury” or has two or more prior convictions within ten years.

Even the lowest charge of a class B misdemeanor can result in jail time of up to six months and a fine of up to $1,000. If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI, don’t leave your defense in the hands of a public defender. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who will have your best interests in mind.

Police Suspect BYU Student of Manufacturing Drugs

BYU Student Manufacturing Drugs

Photo: Leyo/Wikimedia Commons

A small apartment fire near BYU led two roommates to contact the police after what they found in their other roommate’s room. The roommate had apparently been manufacturing drugs, specifically methamphetamine, in his room. The roommate is still being sought for questioning.

Breaking Bad at Brigham Young

According to a report from KSL News, the catalyst to the discovery that the roommate was manufacturing drugs was a fire in the suspect’s room on Thursday, Nov. 6. Two of the roommates helped the suspect, a student of Brigham Young University, put out the fire, one he claimed was started by accidentally spilling some rubbing alcohol. The suspect left later that night, stating he was going to visit a friend in the hospital.

One of the roommates who helped the suspect put out the fire, Nicholas Zarate, told police he was curious about the extent of the damage caused by the fire and picked the lock on the door. According to Provo Police Lt. Brandon Post, “At that point they saw suspicious glassware and chemicals and they contacted Riviera [Apartments] management.” Post called it a “fully operational” meth lab.

The Drug Enforcement Administration cleaned up the lab, and because the suspect had been manufacturing drugs, the Utah Department of Health quarantined the apartment. Post said the apartment would require an “extensive cleaning process” before it would be suitable for occupancy again.

The suspect never returned to the apartment. Police are treating him as a person of interest but as of Saturday had not issued a warrant for manufacturing drugs.

Manufacturing Drugs Punishment

According to the Utah Controlled Substances Act, Utah Code 58-37-8 “Prohibited Acts-Penalties,” manufacturing drugs in unlawful as “knowingly and intentionally; produce, manufacture, or dispense, or to possess with intent to produce, manufacture, or dispense, a controlled or counterfeit substance.”

The Act continues to list the penalties for manufacturing drugs, ranging from a class A misdemeanor to a first degree felony depending on the Schedule classification of the drug and whether it is a repeat offense. There are five Schedule classifications, with Schedule I being considered the most dangerous and addictive. Methamphetamines fall into Schedule II classification, which would result in a second degree felony, punishable by one to fifteen years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 (first degree felony if a repeat offense).