The U.S. government is seeking to forfeit 4,000 bitcoins that were seized during a crackdown of vendors on darkweb marketplaces – an amount that worth over $24 million as of press time.
According to an announcement published by the Department of Justice for the District of Maryland on Tuesday, the prosecutors indicted two men, Ryan Farace and Robert Swain, both residents of the state who allegedly manufactured drugs and distributed them through darkweb marketplaces.
The accused were further alleged to have collected proceeds from drug sales in bitcoin between November 2013 and June 2017, which were seized by law enforcements.
“As part of the indictment, the government seeks the forfeiture of no less than $5,665,000, plus the value of 4,000 bitcoin believed to be the proceeds of the illegal drug sales,” the prosecutors said in the announcement.
The request, if approved, would mark the latest addition to the existing pool of cryptocurrencies confiscated by the U.S. government, which could be subject to further auction into the market.
This is not the first time that U.S. authorities have seized bitcoins (or other cryptocurrencies) during a darkweb crackdown. Notably, the U.S. government forfeited bitcoins from the founder of the defunct darkweb marketplace Silk Road and subsequently auctioned 80,000 bitcoins from 2013 to 2014.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Marshals Service also held an auction of more than 3,800 bitcoins (worth $51 million) – the first since the sale of 2,700 bitcoins in 2016.
Meanwhile, in another indictment in March, the U.S. government was also looking to confiscate 500 bitcoins after charging four individuals for creating fake identification documents.
Bitcoin image via Shutterstock