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Feds Are Auctioning $10M in Bitcoin Generated from Darknet Drug Operation

Posted on the 02 February 2018 by Darkwebnews @darkwebnews

The United States federal government is set to sell Bitcoins seized from a multi-dollar dark web trading scheme. The man allegedly behind the operation was said to have sold counterfeit pharmaceuticals on dark web markets.

It has been confirmed by state and judicial officials who came to a unanimous decision to dispose of the Bitcoin funds in exchange for Fiat cash.

Feds are Auctioning $10M in Bitcoin Generated from Darknet Drug Operation

The Utah drug kingpin who goes by the name Aaron Michael Shamo, of Cottonwood Heights, was a supervisor and ringleader working with at least five other people.

Drew Wilson Crandall of Australia, along with Alexandrya Marie Tonge and Katherine Lauren Ann Bustin of South Jordan, and Mario Anthony Noble and Sean Michael Gygi of Midvale, Utah all received similar charges.

According to a U.S. Department of Justice statement released after the charges were issued, Shamo and Crandall were the main leaders of the enterprise who were later joined by other co-conspirators.

They used a dangerous synthetic opioid to manufacture the substance into pills, which could cause serious health outcomes to the consumers of the drug, even resulting in death.

The alleged co-conspirators supplied thousands of the controlled pills in Utah and throughout the U.S. Shamo is said to have made $2.8 million in less than a year through the operation, which explains his opulent lifestyle.

As indicated in court documents, the pills contained illegal ingredients like Fentanyl and Alprazolam, imported illegally from China.

For some time, deaths caused by Fentanyl have significantly increased because the synthetic substance is physically similar to heroin but is deadlier than a similar amount of heroin.

When officers raided Shamo's home in November 2016, approximately 95,000 pills were discovered.

The pills are said to resemble Oxycodone tablets with the same color and markings as the legitimate controlled opioid drug, an appearance meant to reduce the level of detection.

A federal judge in Utah gave the go-ahead to sell the assets from the enterprise. The cash collected would be termed as public assets.

The authorities seized 513 Bitcoins and 512 Bitcoin Cash which currently is equivalent to $8.4 million for the Bitcoin and almost $1 million for the Bitcoin Cash.

The assets also included a Ford F-350 truck and a BMW 135i, which are also being auctioned to the collected total assets.

The main reason for the decision to go ahead with the auction is due to the high volatility of Bitcoin. Unlike other cryptocurrencies, over the past year, bitcoin has registered a very high rise in price.

It is alleged that the Bitcoin funds will give more profit at an immediate sale because it may lose value with the passage of time. Once the assets are sold, the money will be held at the Treasury Executive Office for asset forfeiture.

The sale by the federal government is a significant one, since the deal contains a high value and is expected to make a lot of profit.

The government is expected to make more such sales throughout the year since they are likely to crack down on more dark web drug trafficking rings.

Shamo had lived in a neighborhood where houses were worth around half a million dollars.

It was suspicious that a 27-year-old resident could afford such an abode adding to the fact that he was supposedly reserved, spending most of his time indoors and sleeping very late.

No one seemed to suspect that he was one of the most successful drug dealers in Utah and that he stacked $1.2 million in his basement.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration believed that Shamo ran an organization with a global operation based on the synthetic opioid, Fentanyl-a drug 50 times more potent than heroin.

Today, all that a darknet drug dealer needs is a laptop, a basic understanding of the dark web and a mailing address, unlike traditionally where drug trafficking organizations employed many operatives to transport and distribute the substance in tractor-trailers with hidden compartments, or on boats which operated along remote beaches.

It was efficiently organized, though very complex.

Shamo had begun as a Bitcoin trader back in college, so if people asked how he earned a living, he always gave cryptocurrency trading as an answer.

These are side hustles that many drug dealers and money laundering criminals are opting to do in order to divert attention.

Before his arrest, Shamo had planned to get married and move to California to start a new life. But one morning when Shamo was playing his favorite game in his basement, he heard a loud bang upstairs.

Swat team officers had raided his home to search and investigate by their suspicions. Since then, Shamo was aware that his life would never be the same again, and he may end up in federal courts on drug trafficking charges.

Drug overdoses are known to be the main cause of the increased number of deaths in America.

And there is a rising rate of opioid overdoses in Utah as a result of illicit drug trading.

This has prompted the national government to sign into law the regulation of opioid and fentanyl importation in America. It may be a very noble idea to see how things will unfold as the law enforcement agencies continue busting drug trafficking operations.

Still, drug traffickers are looking for other means to continue their businesses, shifting to new and more profitable stream of trading over the dark web. This means that the number of overdose deaths is expected to rise above 59,000.

As the state enjoys the cash received from the Bitcoin auction in the Shamo case, it will continue to pursue the initiative to get fatal drugs like fentanyl out of the hands of drug dealers.

The sale of the seized Bitcoin funds is set to proceed later this month.

Feds are Auctioning $10M in Bitcoin Generated from Darknet Drug Operation


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