Former US Secret Service agent Shaun W. Bridges, sentenced to 71 months in prison for money laundering and obstruction of justice, has been detained. He was due to surrender himself, but officials think he was going to flee.

Bridges was scheduled to surrender and begin his term in prison on Friday 29 January, but instead he was arrested the day before, on Thursday. During the arrest some evidence was found showing that the former agent was about to leave the country, reads the court document.

The list of evidence is provided: “Identity documents; a passport card in Bridges’ name; a notarized copy of Bridges’ passport; corporate records for at least 3 different offshore entities ranging from Nevis to Belize to Mauritius, including one that Bridges created on October 28, 2015 after he had pleaded guilty in this case; a Samsung cell phone; and a thumb drive. Also there were documents relating to his wife’s, Ariana Esposito’s, attempts to obtain citizenship in another country. Government agents also found a MacBook with the serial number scratched off, an ipad tucked between a bedroom mattress, and bulletproof vests, at least one of which had Secret Service markings and thus is believed to have been stolen from the government.”

Offshore corporate documents and stolen bulletproof vests were considered enough to believe that Bridges was not going to surrender the next day. After the arrest the ex-agent asked to be released from custody for a voluntary self-surrender to prison. But this request was denied, so he remained in the US Marshals Service custody waiting for imprisonment.

The 33-years old Bridges was sentenced on 7 December 2015 after he pleaded guilty in August. Together with his co-conspirator Carl Mark Force IV, Bridges took advantage of his position as a member of the task force appointed to investigate the website Silk Road.  

The website was an online black market selling illicit goods, including drugs, from 2011 to 2013 when the site was closed by the FBI. The transactions were carried out in bitcoins. Bridges and the force extorted money from the website administrator Ross William Ulbricht, the former agent, in particular, admitting the theft of the equivalent of $ 800,000 (although local media report that at the time of the theft the bitcoin sum only equalled $ 350,000 and swelled later.)

Ulbricht, who ran the website under the nickname Dread Pirate Roberts, was earlier sentenced for life for drug dealing and an attempt to order the murder of Curtis Clark Green, another administrator of Silk Road when the latter agreed to cooperate with the investigation.


Andrew Levich