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US authorities seize over $200,000 worth of Bitcoin in suspected drug ring

Three arrests were made in Boston

Bitcoin crime

US authorities have seized more than $200,000 worth of Bitcoin BTC after arresting three Boston-based men on charges of conspiring to sell drugs on the dark web.

Binh Thanh Le, 22, Steven McCall, 23, and Allante Pires, 22, were each charged with conspiring to make and distribute MDMA, Ketamine, and Xanax.

Authorities also seized 20 kilograms of MDMA, more than seven kilograms of Ketamine, over 10,000 Xanax pills, and more than $100,000 in cash.

The arrests were made after the execution of a search warrant at an office space where agents found and arrested McCall, who was wearing latex gloves and a respirator, and was believed to be in the process of filling drug orders.

During the search, agents found a computer with the “EastSideHigh” vendor page open, and numerous packages containing MDMA and Ketamine, various shipping and packaging materials, and a pill press.

During the investigation, an undercover federal agent ordered MDMA from one of the “EastSideHigh” vendor sites on a dark web marketplace, and later saw Le allegedly deposit the envelope containing the agent’s order into a United States Postal Service collection box in Stoughton (Boston).

Then, on March 27, 2019, Le allegedly met with undercover law enforcement agents at a hotel in Norwood to exchange $200,000 worth of Bitcoin for cash. Le was arrested after he transferred the Bitcoin to the agents.

It’s obviously not the first time law enforcement agents have gone undercover to unearth Bitcoin-fuelled drug crime on the dark net (remember Silk Road back in the day?).

Perhaps becoming increasingly aware of the fact that Bitcoin is often used to fund illegal activity in the darkest corners of the internet, Europol recently revealed it is working on a game to help law enforcement agents learn how to trace and investigate cryptocurrency‘s illicit uses. So, watch this space.

Published June 17, 2019 — 10:17 UTC