US Prosecutors Rush to Sell Bitcoin Confiscated in Drug Bust

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US prosecutors are rushing to auction $8.5 mln worth of Bitcoin, seized in a drug ring bust in Utah.

After seizing Bitcoin from a criminal drug ring, attorneys in the state of Utah are in a rush to sell the valuable cryptocurrency, as reported by the Time Magazine.

A year ago, 27-year-old Aaron Shamo was arrested in Cottonwood Heights, Utah on multiple drug dealing charges. According to Time Magazine, he was involved in the sale of opioid-containing pills on a dark web marketplace.

The pills contained the synthetic opioid fentanyl – which is responsible for a number of drug overdose deaths worldwide. It’s so powerful that US authorities are considering it as a tool to execute death-row inmates.

At the time of his arrest, the authorities seized $500,000 worth of Bitcoin from Shamo. Due to Bitcoin’s substantial growth this year, the confiscated sum is now worth $8.5 mln.

As for why the authorities want to sell now, in court papers The US Attorney’s Office for Utah cites the cryptocurrency market’s volatility as the primary reason.

Federal Prosecution Spokeswoman Melodie Rydalch says proceeds made from the Bitcoin auction will be held until the case is over. Historically, the investigating authority usually keeps the funds raised from seized asset auctions.

Shamo has pleaded not guilty to the charges and his attorney Greg Skordas will not contest the sale of the seized Bitcoin.

Similar scenarios around the world

Earlier this week, Cointelegraph reported that Bulgarian authorities had also seized a massive amount of Bitcoin from a criminal investigation. In that case, the European country had struck ‘digital gold,’ with over 200,000 Bitcoin confiscated, equal to roughly $4 bln or one-fourth of the country’s national debt.

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Author: Gareth Jenkinson

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