US Seizes $54M Crypto from Drug Ring

Seizes Drug Ring's $54M Crypto Stash

Convicted Ringleader’s Crypto Stash Uncovered

Federal authorities have successfully seized $54 million in cryptocurrency from Christopher Castelluzzo, the leader of a notorious New Jersey drug ring. Castelluzzo, a convicted drug trafficker, had amassed this wealth through a series of illicit activities spanning from 2010 to 2015.

FBI Sends Stern Warning to Criminals

FBI Newark Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy emphasized that the forfeiture action serves as a stark reminder that law enforcement possesses the capabilities to trace and apprehend those involved in illegal behavior and the subsequent financial gains.

From Modest Investment to Multi-Million Dollar Holdings

What initially started as a modest $9,000 investment in Ethereum (ETH) with drug proceeds eventually ballooned into a staggering $53 million. Castelluzzo also diversified his holdings with a range of tokens, including solana (SOL), cardano (ADA), and bitcoin, all of which have now been seized by U.S. authorities.

Darknet Operations and Bitcoin Transactions

Castelluzzo and his accomplices operated through darknet platforms like Silk Road and Blue Sky, accepting payments exclusively in bitcoin. The ring distributed various drugs, including cocaine and methylone, sourced from China.

Plans to Evade Taxes and Liquidate Abroad

While incarcerated and serving a 20-year prison sentence, Castelluzzo was caught discussing his crypto strategy, which included intentions to evade taxes and liquidate his holdings outside the U.S. He admitted to orchestrating drug sales amounting to millions of dollars each week during his criminal endeavors.

Debating Offshore Destinations for Hidden Wealth

Recorded conversations in prison revealed Castelluzzo’s discussions about potential offshore destinations to safeguard his crypto fortune. Options considered included Malta, Ireland, and various Latin American countries.

This high-profile seizure highlights the government’s determination to combat illegal activities, especially those utilizing cryptocurrencies for illicit gains.

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About Maria Morgan

Maria Morgan is a full-time cryptocurrency journalist at Coinography. She is graduate in Political Science and Journalism from London, her writing is centered around cryptocurrency news, regulation and policy-making across the glob.

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