Curtis Green was the employee pulled into an elaborate, and fake, murder-for-hire scheme.
On Friday, the notorious former Silk Road employee Curtis Green was sentenced to time served—two days, and four years of supervised release—by Chief US District Judge Catherine C. Blake in a Baltimore court. Green had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and posses with intent to distribute cocaine.
For a long while, Green was thought to be a dead man.
That's because he was the Silk Road employee implicated in an elaborate, and fake, murder-for-hire scheme, created in part by a corrupt Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent.
Green acted as a moderator on the Silk Road under the monikers Chronicpain and Flush, helping people out with customer support issues and working on the harm reduction side of the forum.
"I got involved in SR because I was interested in Bitcoin and SR was the biggest market place for Bitcoin," Green previously said in a statement. "I also had an interest in harm reduction related to drug use."
Green's life took a dramatic, and unexpected turn however, when a heavily armed SWAT team and DEA agents kicked down his door in January 2013.
The Dread Pirate Roberts or DPR, the pseudonymous creator of the Silk Road who would later be unmasked as Ross Ulbricht, quickly learned that one of his staff members had been arrested. He suspected that Green would help the authorities.
On top of this, a massive wad of bitcoins had been stolen from Silk Road and traced back to Green (it would eventually be revealed that crooked Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges had used Green's account to steal the money).
DPR contacted one of his trusted drug dealer contacts, Nob, and asked him to kill Green for $40,000. Shortly after, Nob sent DPR photos of Green covered in Campbell's Chicken & Stars soup and victim of an apparent asphyxiation, to prove the murder had been carried out.
Unbeknown to DPR, Nob was no drug dealer. In fact, Nob was Carl Mark Force IV, the very same DEA agent who had arrested Green.
It was Force's idea to fake the murder and torture of Green and send the spoofed photos to DPR. (The charge that Ulbricht carried out a for murder-for-hire of Green is pending in Maryland. The other murder-for-hire accusations, related to the supposed targeting of other people, are not formal charges).
Ulbricht, especially after he was convicted to life in prison for creating the Silk Road, has had many members of the public donate to his defense fund. Green also launched a similar crowd-funding campaign after charges against Force and Bridges were filed, in order to "fight dirty Federal agents." In May 2015, Green had raised $25 from one backer, out of an overall target of $50,000.
After Ulbricht's life sentence, Green tweeted that was he "surprised" at the harshness of the ruling. Green did not respond to a request for comment.
Green's lawyers could not immediately be reached for comment.
Correction: An earlier version of this story referred incorrectly to Carl Mark Force IV's alias. It was Nob, not Nod.