The US Federal government is pushing for the sequestration of over $24M worth of bitcoins confiscated from dark web vendors.
Two people, Ryan Farace and Robert Swain, were indicted on June 22, 2018, for the manufacture of illicit drugs with the intent to distribute and launder money from its proceeds. The indictment was announced by a combined group of US law enforcement agencies including the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division.
The two were accused with laundering illegal drug money by hiding behind Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies which promise transaction anonymity. The crime, when proven, carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
The six-point indictment included the government’s “request” to take over the illegal drug proceeds amounting to more than $5.5M plus 4,000 bitcoins.
Allegedly, two houses and two vehicles were used to distribute the drugs.
Additionally, it described Farace as having procured equipment and ingredients to manufacture a Xanax look-alike drug from November 2013 through June 2017. It accuses Farace of taking online orders through encrypted messaging and shipping them thru the U.S. Postal Service. Postage was paid with prepaid debit cards carrying personal information of other people.
It was estimated that Farace has manufactured and distributed almost 7,000 alprazolam pills between May 2016 and January 2017 alone.
It can be recalled that the US Justice Department forfeited an amount of $48,238,116 from auctioning off 144,336 bitcoins “retrieved” from Ross William Ulbricht’s laptop. Ulbricht was sentenced guilty of online drug trafficking in 2015.