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The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is announcing a plan to seize millions of dollars worth of crypto that was allegedly gained from the sales of illegal narcotics.

In a new press release, the DOJ says it has filed a forfeiture action against $54 million in crypto assets that can be traced to an illegal drug ring.

According to the DOJ, from 2010 to 2015, Christopher Castelluzzo, who is currently behind bars, conspired with others to sell illicit substances.

He allegedly took his illicit earnings and converted them into digital assets – including 30,000 Ether in 2014 during Ethereum’s initial coin offering – the same tokens the government wants to seize. The bad actor also collected 30,000 Ethereum Classic (ETC) in 2016 and used the ETC stack to purchase other crypto assets.

During his incarceration, the government says that Castelluzzo attempted to evade paying taxes by moving his ETH, which ballooned up to $54 million in value since the time he bought it, to another country.

However, authorities learned of his plot by listening in on a phone conversation. With the government’s intervention, the DOJ is now making moves to officially confiscate the crypto assets that were associated with the crimes.

As stated by US Attorney Philip R. Sellinger in the press release,

“The civil action we are taking today seeks to recover millions of dollars of cryptocurrency, which the defendant allegedly obtained from drug sales. Whether it’s as simple as bags of cash or as sophisticated as cryptocurrency, we will take the steps necessary to seize financial gains defendants obtain from criminal activity.”

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Featured Image: Shutterstock/Natalia Siiatovskaia
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