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The FBI’s joint J-CODE task force seizes $4.5m in crypto from online drug dealers

A few days ago we reported on how Canadian online drug dealer Matthew Phan was recently ordered to pay back his entire $1.4m Bitcoin fortune by a Toronto judge.  Today we’ve learned that in the US the FBI has arrested 61 drug dealers as a result of a major operation and seized an estimated $4.5m in cryptocurrencies in the process along with $2.48m in cash as well as 300kg of drugs and 51 guns.

The operation codenamed Tor took place between the 11th of January and 12th of March under the stewardship of J-CODE (the Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement), a partnership between the FBI and the DEA, Europol and a number of other international law enforcement agencies.  They chose the name Tor because the privacy-focused web browser of the same name played a massive part in the operation’s success.

While the FBI haven’t actually confirmed which cryptocurrencies were seized, we would assume Bitcoin and Monero are likely to have been involved as both currencies tend to be popular with criminals as they operate anonymously.

In his press conference the FBI’s Director Christopher Wray said:

"Criminals have always adopted innovations and new technologies to achieve their illicit goals, and it’s our job to adapt and remain ahead of the threat. Operation SaboTor demonstrates not only the strength of our partnerships across the U.S. government and abroad but how we’re able to capitalize on those partnerships to disrupt criminal activity, even when they try to hide it on the Darknet".

Again this story is just the latest reminder of the negative side of cryptocurrency. 

There are of course huge upsides – not least the rate at which the value of the majority of cryptocurrencies tends to increase – but the anonymity and potential returns are proving to be irresistible to the criminals running the dark web.

If you are planning to invest in cryptocurrency, you need to understand the provenance and history of the currency you are planning to buy so you avoid any potential of becoming unwittingly involved in any criminal act by association. 

If you would like to get invest in bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency and want to discuss how to make sure you proceed safely and legally, please call us today on  020 7792 5649 or or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We will help. 

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MLA 2017 18 Shortlisted 2