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Dark Web Drug Trafficker to Hand Over Illicit Bitcoin Millions

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July 29, 2019 | 

690 Views | 

Darryn Pollock | 

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After pleading guilty for selling drugs, including Carfentanil and Fentanyl, over the dark web, and taking payment in Bitcoin, Richard Castro will have to give up $4 million of ill-gotten funds, some of it in Bitcoin.

Castro, who went by a few aliases, such as Chemsusa,” “Chems_usa,” “Chemical_usa” and “Jagger109”, well-known dark web marketplaces including AlphaBay and Dream Market, accepted payment in Bitcoin. 

Castro laundered much of his money with Bitcoin wallets, but also strangely, through Zimbabwean banknotes, which are virtually worthless in their monetary value. 

Seven Bitcoin wallets

After his arrest, Castro agreed that he would hand over $4,156,198.18 in illicit earnings, which includes the contents of his seven different bitcoin wallets. Not all of the funds would still be in Bitcoin; however, as the laundering of the funds had been taking place for an extended period.

Bitcoin has often been touted as a tool for buying drugs and paying for other illicit services on the internet. And, with there being more and more news about dark web dealers being caught with their Bitcoin hordes, it does sound concerning. 

However, while Bitcoin can be a tool for the dark web, it is not the only tool that is used to buy drugs. 

Caught on encrypted email

Castro was arrested when he decided to operate via encrypted email, charging potential customers a fee to get the address. Undercover officers then paid the cost, and obtained the email, and were able to track him down and arrest him.

Castro appears to have been a high-level dealer as on one of the dark web markets alone he boasted of making 3,200 transactions.

This case also follows on from a recent case of another dark web trafficker who was caught trying to launder his $19 million in Bitcoin through an exchange. Hugh Haney was part of another dark web marketplace, but his arrests also tied in with the laundering of money through cryptocurrencies.

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