US Attorney Seize $54 Million from Alleged Drug Trafficking Group

The US Attorney’s Office in New Jersey has initiated a civil forfeiture action against Christopher Castelluzzo and two associates connected to an unnamed drug trafficking group. The filing reveals that Castelluzzo, currently serving dual 20-year sentences, attempted to communicate with his associates from prison to move the funds, valued at $54 million, to another country to evade taxation.

FBI’s Success in Seizing Illicit Funds

FBI Agent James Dennehy highlights the agency’s capabilities in uncovering illicit funds, emphasizing that the $54 million forfeiture should serve as a warning to those engaging in criminal activities using cryptocurrencies.

The US Attorney forfeiture action discloses that the defendants had been selling drugs for cryptocurrency on various dark web markets since 2013. While 0.49 BTC remains with Castelluzzo, the majority of the funds were reinvested in cryptocurrencies like Ether, Chainlink, Polkadot, Algorand, and others.

Ether dominates the confiscated funds, with 30,000 ETH seized, originally purchased during Ethereum’s ICO. The assets also include investments in diverse cryptocurrencies, showcasing the criminals’ efforts to diversify their crypto holdings.

US Attorney’s Commitment to Pursue Illicit Gains

U.S. Attorney Phillip R. Sellinger underscores the commitment of the justice system to track down proceeds from illegal activities, whether in traditional forms like cash or the increasingly sophisticated realm of cryptocurrency.

Sellinger’s statement echoes sentiments expressed in previous cases, emphasizing that the focus is on the illicit gains from criminal behavior rather than blaming cryptocurrency as the catalyst. This approach aligns with recent legal narratives surrounding crypto-related cases.