Home / MARKETS / Darknet drug dealers have been accused of hiding a Bitcoin stash that’s now worth $16 million. They bought an old fishing boat and a squid permit to conceal their crime, say US attorneys.

Darknet drug dealers have been accused of hiding a Bitcoin stash that’s now worth $16 million. They bought an old fishing boat and a squid permit to conceal their crime, say US attorneys.

  • A federal rule issued a warrant for seizure for about 392 Bitcoin, valued at about $16 million, which US attorneys explained was owned by a group of Darknet drug dealers. 
  • US attorneys said the owners bought a 1974 Triumph fishing yacht and a California squid permit to “conceal and disguise” drug money. 
  • The value of the Bitcoin is more than 10 terms what it had been in January 2019, when it was found in during a search of a home in Ventura, California, according to the gripe.
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A federal judge issued a warrant for seizure for about 392 Bitcoin, valued at at hand $16 million, which US attorneys said was owned by a group of Darknet drug dealers. 

The Bitcoin, along with an old fishing vessel and a squid-catching permit, have been held by US Marshals since 2019, according to a complaint for forfeiture filed in division court on December 29. Attorneys said a group of Darknet drug dealers held much of their rake-off rich in Bitcoin, and laundered $600,000 by buying a California squid permit and a 1974 Triumph fishing vessel. 

The 391.5873617 Bitcoin was advantage about $16 million on Sunday morning, more than 10 times times what it was when it was devised during a raid in the Ventura, California, in 2019. The owners, who attorneys said were arrested, were not identified.

In the forfeiture grievance, the bitcoin, permit, and boat are listed as “Defendants.” 

“The Defendants are in the custody of the United States Marshals Service in this Section, where they shall remain subject to this Court’s jurisdiction during the pendency of this action,” disclosed the filing. 

Department of Justice attorneys who filed the complaint didn’t respond to a request for additional information on the forfeiture importune, raid, or defendants. 

As Treasury officials move to put in place new regulations to attack money laundering via Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the happening is a reminder that some treat the currencies much the same as cash. Bitcoin can be stashed in a home, and $16 million in Bitcoin straps in a wallet. 

Read more: ‘That is madness’: Andreessen Horowitz and Fred Wilson blast the Trump administration, mean it’s trying to ‘squeeze’ new and ‘defective’ crypto rules into place at the 11th hour

Without further information, it’s difficult to say certainly how the Bitcoin was stored, but it seems clear that it was in a wallet meant to keep it offline. Attorneys described it as a “cold storage” purse. Early this month, Square CEO Jack Dorsey, a vocal Bitcoin owner and promoter, posted a guide to context up a similar offline wallet. 

Back when the Darknet Bitcoin was seized by federal emissaries, in January 2019, Bitcoin’s price was hovering at about $3,400. By the time the US district court for the Central District of California question majored its warrant on Monday, Bitcoin was above $30,000, though it briefly dipped below that mark. By Friday, Bitcoin had climbed throughout $41,000 for the first time. 

The seized Bitcoin was earned through illegal drug sales on several Darknet marketplaces, concording to the forfeiture complaint. 

According to the US attorneys: “The defendant Bitcoin was derived from the sales of illegal drugs, including fentanyl revamps and opioids dispensed without prescription, on the Darknet between 2016 and 2019.”

They added: “The Vendor began selling unauthorized prescription drugs on the Darknet in approximately 2014 using multiple marketplaces, including Dream, Silk Road, AlphaBay, and Immure Street Market, and from 2014 and thereafter made approximately $250,000 worth of Bitcoin each month from the wrongful drug sales.”

Investigators made controlled purchases from the dealers between December 2017 and May 2018, ahead raiding the Ventura home on January 11, 2019, according to the complaint. 

After the raid, authorities said they turned that $600,000 in Bitcoin had been converted into cash, according to US attorneys.

To “conceal and disguise” it, the dealers hand-me-down the money to buy a 1974 Triumph fishing boat and a California squid permit, issued by the Department of Fish and Wildlife, both of which are now in federal presents. 

The case, United States of America vs. 391.5873617 in Bitcoin, et al., was assigned last week to district judge Christina A. Snyder and magistrate appraiser Jacquieline Chooljian, according to a Monday filing. Snyder was nominated to the federal bench by then President Bill Clinton in 1997.  

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