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The use of cryptocurrency for funding illegal activities is an alarming menace spreading like wildfire in the summertime. Being a decentralized network with the utmost priority for users’ anonymity and privacy, the crypto sphere can constitute as a secured hideout for all sorts of nefarious activities.
Although these criminals tend to employ a random geo-targeting system, you would not be wrong if you said Canada has got some of the worst hits so far. In 2018 alone, multiple crypto-related crimes were reported in the Northern American country and only a handful of these criminals have been caught.
Towards the last days of the same year, a Canadian drug dealer by the name Matthew Phan pleaded guilty to attempting to import a firearm illegally as well as the possession of drugs such as cocaine, ketamine, and PCP. Recently, after careful investigation, the Superior Court Justice Jane Kelly ruled on the forfeiture of all the Bitcoins – totaling about $1.9 million – found in Phan’s wallet.
The judge believes the Bitcoins found in Phan’s wallet are payments from the drugs he sold. Therefore, every single digital coin in the wallet should be forfeited by the authorities and given to the Ministry of the Attorney General.
Commenting on the case, Judge Kelly stated that they found an indisputable amount of evidence that shows that the suspect is involved in drug trafficking and illegal arm purchase. She stated that these purchases were made through the dark web – most likely through the eBay-style online black markets Evolution and Agora. The overwhelming amount of evidence found on Phan’s residence and computer makes it logical to conclude that the large amount of BTC in his wallet was gotten through illegal trades. She thinks the BTC were used as payment for the narcotics.
Phan, who pleaded guilty to the charges laid against him, denied vehemently the new allegations, claiming that at least some of the Bitcoins were gotten through legitimate sales. The 30-year-old suspect claims he is into crypto trading and that some of the recovered BTCs were used to trade gold as well. However, the judge is being skeptical about that claim as drug dealing happens to be the major trade he is involved in.
Nonetheless, the investigation revealed that 7.23 BTC of the entire 281.41 BTC found may actually be gotten through legitimate sales. Therefore, the judge has agreed to seize all other Bitcoins except the supposedly legit virtual coins which are worth nearly $50,000 according to the current market price.