4,000 BTC were held in 2018, with another 2,934 that appeared this year. The criminal was a drug trafficker and collected in cryptocurrencies to exchange them for cash on the darknet.
Ryan Farace, a drug trafficker, kept laundering money from the sale of drugs while being in prison in 2018. The offender received the assistance of his father to commit the crimes. He would have used transactions with bitcoin (BTC) that he later exchanged for cash on the darknet.
Farace, back in 2015, decided to set up with Robert Swain, a drug trafficking network on the darknet or “dark internet” from Reisterstown, Maryland, United States of America. This activity, which came to effect through bitcoin trades, kept happening until 2018 when the criminal got discovered and sentenced to 57 months in prison by the Federal Court of Maryland.
The organization’s modus operandi was to offer drugs and then get bitcoin in return. The next step was to exchange those crypto assets for money via the darknet, under total anonymity. According to an official statement issued by the Court in November 2018, the money would have gone by mail to an address specified by Farace, whose alias was Xanax Man.
The business since then has increased exponentially. In those three years, the partners had managed to sell more than 900,000 pills of Alprazolam, an anxiolytic prescribed for conditions like depression and anxiety. So he came to gather millions of dollars, property, and computer equipment. All those assets ended up being confiscated by the forces of order.
After confirming the charges against the criminal, the US Justice reported the seizure of USD 5.6 million and 4,000 bitcoin that belonged to Farace. At the time, the sum in cryptocurrencies was approximately $ 16.8 million, although today it would amount to more than $ 184 billion, according to data reported by CoinMarketCap.
Operations from Jail
Farace’s business ended its operations in 2019. In the first place, because he was already in prison. His network was also discovered and subsequently dismantled. For these reasons, he no longer had the resources to keep leading his drug businesses.
Joseph Farace, his father, was crucial in the crime. He helped his son to continue with “family entrepreneurship.” From October 2019 to April 2021, they managed to launder USD 137 million (or 2,934 BTC, according to local media) that got seized between February and April of this year.
The Sale of Drugs on the Internet has Become a Global Concern
At the end of June 2021, the United Nations (UN) released a report intending to find ways to regulate cryptocurrencies. This initiative would stop the illegal drug market on the network, which currently traffics USD 315 million every year.
Cryptocurrencies, according to the UN, are one of the first means of payment to achieve these operations. It also brings a fast technological innovation, so the digitization of the economy from the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted and helped these illegal online activities.
By: Jenson Nuñez