The head of a well-known narcotics gang in New Jersey has had $54 million worth of cryptocurrency taken by federal law enforcement, according to a statement released on Thursday by U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger.
Federal officials claim that the money was found in cryptocurrency wallets linked to convicted drug dealer Christopher Castelluzzo and his accomplices. Between 2010 and 2015, the team operated mail-order cocaine and designer drug businesses, and the wallets included the revenues of those ventures that were laundered.
FBI Newark Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy stated in a statement, “Our forfeiture action of $54 million should serve as a lesson to those who mistakenly believe we can’t trace their illicit behavior or their ill-gotten proceeds.”
Authorities claim that the $9,000 in ETH that was first invested from the drug revenues grew to almost $53 million, in addition to a variety of other tokens that Castelluzzo acquired, including as bitcoin, cardano (ADA), and solana (SOL). The United States confiscated it as a forfeiture since it was connected to the initial narcotics trade.
Initially, Castelluzzo and his associates were apprehended in a drug trafficking network that operated via darknet platforms such as Silk Road and Blue Sky, receiving payment in bitcoin at that moment. The active business was reportedly involved in the distribution of various substances, such as Chinese-made methylone and cocaine.
According to the U.S. attorney’s office, Castelluzzo was talking about his cryptocurrency strategy when he was serving a 20-year jail sentence. This approach included plans to avoid paying taxes and sell off his assets abroad.
In a letter to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office earlier this year, Castelluzzo allegedly said, “I sold millions of dollars worth of drugs every single week for almost four years.”
He and others are heard discussing the advantages of other offshore locations for the cryptocurrency riches, including as Malta, Ireland, and South America, during discussions while incarcerated.
According to Castelluzzo, “Bahamas would be awesome.”