Drug Dealer Forfeits Over $4M in Bitcoin as Part of a Guilty Plea

Criminal Holding Bitcoin

According to a July 25 press release from the United States Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York, the very active Bitcoin drug dealer Richard Castro has pleaded guilty of committing illicit activities such as money laundering and distributing three controlled substances through the dark web and encrypted emails.

Castro was charged by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and agreed to forfeit more than $4 million including cryptocurrency funds available in his seven different Bitcoin wallets.

Castro, 36-year-old based in Windermere, Florida, operated under multiple badges, such as “Chems_usa,” “Chemical_usa” and “Jagger109” to distribute three controlled opioid substances namely carfentanil, fentanyl, and phenyl fentanyl. Dream Market and AlphaBay were two of his primary market places on the dark web, where he sold drugs in exchange for cryptocurrency.

The three controlled opioid substances were sold from November 2015 to 2019 by Castro and another co-conspirator, Luis Fernandez. Fentanyl, the first of these three is considered to be significantly stronger than heroin while Carfentanil is believed to be 100 times stronger than fentanyl. Castro sold these substances under the three aforementioned monikers which ultimately used to prove that he is indeed the leader of this conspiracy.

On Dream Market, Castro once boasted about 3,200 transactions that he had completed on various dark web marketplaces. Out of these 3,200 transactions, 1,800 transactions were successfully completed on AlphaBay alone. The conspirators apparently also received many positive reviews for the quality of synthetic opioid substance they were selling.

In June 218, Castro informed his clients that he would only accept orders received by encrypted emails and declared the organization is getting the business off from the dark web. Customers who wanted to buy narcotics had to acquire the address of the encrypted email from “Chems_usa” by paying certain fees. Unfortunately for Castro, an undercover law enforcement officer also obtained the encrypted email and placed an order, which ultimately led to his arrest.

Castro was accepting the payments in Bitcoin which were later distributed in seven different BTC wallets.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:

“As he admitted today, for years, Richard Castro used the dark web to distribute prolific quantities of powerful opioids, including fentanyl and carfentanil. Castro thought he could hide behind the anonymity of the internet, and use online pseudonyms to deal drugs – like ‘Chems_usa’ and ‘Chemical_usa.’ Thanks to our law enforcement partners, ‘Chems_usa’ is now in U.S. prison.”

Castro has agreed to forfeit $4,156,198.18 including the funds on those seven Bitcoin wallets.

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