DOJ Targets $54 Million Crypto Linked to Narcotics in Seizure Operation
The latest move by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) involves a significant operation aimed at seizing a substantial value of cryptocurrency believed to have originated from the illegal sale of narcotics.
Sources within the DOJ disclosed details of Christopher Castelluzzo’s involvement from 2010 to 2015 in a conspiracy to traffic illegal substances, which led to his current incarceration.
It’s purported that Castelluzzo converted the profits from these illegal dealings into various digital currencies, notably acquiring a considerable amount of Ether during Ethereum’s initial coin offering in 2014, a stash that the government is targeting for confiscation. Moreover, he amassed a significant sum of Ethereum Classic in 2016, utilizing these assets for further investments in the cryptocurrency realm.
While serving time, Castelluzzo supposedly attempted to circumvent tax obligations by transferring his Ethereum holdings, which had substantially increased in value to reach $54 million, to an offshore location.
However, this plan was uncovered when law enforcement intercepted a conversation related to this scheme. Consequently, the DOJ is taking steps to legally seize the cryptocurrency linked to these unlawful activities.
According to a statement by US Attorney Philip R. Sellinger:
“Today’s legal pursuit aims to retrieve millions in cryptocurrency that is suspected to have been derived from the sale of drugs. Whether in traditional currency or in the form of sophisticated digital assets, we remain dedicated to taking necessary measures to confiscate the financial gains resulting from criminal enterprises.”