Bitcoins worth $24 million seized from drug dealer in US state
June 28, 2018 9:33 am,
The United States Department of Justice, in collaboration with government authorities in the state of Maryland, have seized $17 million in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and are requesting approval of the seizure of an additional 4,000 Bitcoin, valued at $24 million – bringing the total value in cryptocurrencies seized to $41 million. They are seeking to forfeit 4,000 bitcoins that were seized during a crackdown of vendors on darkweb marketplaces.
According to an announcement published by the Department of Justice for the District of Maryland on Tuesday, the prosecutors indicted two men, Ryan Farace and Robert Swain, both age 34, are facing a six-count indictment for allegedly running a counterfeit drug dealing ring through the Dark Web. Both, Ryan Farace and Robert Swain residents of the state who allegedly manufactured drugs and distributed them through darkweb marketplaces. The two face a maximum sentence of 20 years for money laundering charges, while an additional maximum sentence of five years for drug distribution charges are also part of the charges. The accused were further alleged to have collected proceeds from drug sales in bitcoin between November 2013 and June 2017, which were seized by law enforcements.
“As part of the indictment, the government seeks the forfeiture of no less than $5,665,000, plus the value of 4,000 bitcoin believed to be the proceeds of the illegal drug sales,” the prosecutors said in the announcement.
The request, if approved, would mark the latest addition to the existing pool of cryptocurrencies confiscated by the U.S. government, which could be subject to further auction into the market.
This is not the first time that U.S. authorities have seized bitcoins (or other cryptocurrencies) during a darkweb crackdown. Notably, the U.S. government forfeited bitcoins from the founder of the defunct darkweb marketplace Silk Road and subsequently auctioned 80,000 bitcoins from 2013 to 2014.