The Canadian law enforcement agencies are seeking to set an example in the cryptocurrency law enforcement domain as they claim $1.8 million worth of Bitcoin money which was seized from a drug dealer.
Further reports about the convict show that the drug dealer trafficked Marijuana to buyers and was allegedly working under the pseudonym “MarijuanaIsMyMuse” on the notorious but highly used website on the dark web, “Silk road”. According to a report, the dealer was caught earlier in 2015 at his home where the Canadian police raided his home and found $100,000 worth of sealed and packed Marijuana and some hard drives and electronic devices on the side. The Marijuana and the devices were seized by the police and they later found out that three of the devices contained different amounts of Bitcoin money stored in them.
The dealer was sentenced to a total of nine month in prison in 2015 and the money was taken away from him. The only problem now is the fate of the 226.4 BTC which equals to an amount of about $1.8 million as of today. At the time of seizure in April 2013, one Bitcoin was worth $140.87 US, but as of July 27th of this year, Bitcoins are much higher which add to the ridiculously huge total.
The dealer, however, says that the police has no legal right over his Bitcoin money and has no right to seize it from him. His lawyer added to this;
The property subject to civil forfeiture seized by the police in this proceeding is neither proceeds of crime nor an instrument of unlawful activity. We are currently in the very early stages of the case.
His statements are backed by the fact that the person had no signs of criminal record before and was never convicted of drug dealing. He alleges that when he went back to fetch the hard drives from his house later in 2017, he found out that they were in custody of the Canadian Police. He says that this is a violation of the court that they return his electronics 4 years after they were seized and taking them was unlawful in the first place. The complain that he filed in the court read that,
The defendant seeks a finding from the court that his rights were breached and seeks the exclusion of any evidence obtained by searching private property and obtaining evidence in contravention of the Charter and in violation of a court order by the VPD.
He also said in the court filings that he never used dark web (where there were platforms that allowed users to sell and buy drugs, firearms and hitmen in exchange of cryptocurrency) to sell anything especially drugs. He also denied having made any money in Bitcoin using any unlawful means.
In return, the Civil Forfeiture Office says that the hard drives contained the record of the sales of Viagra, Crystal Meth, Heroin, cocaine, MDMA and other drugs that link the person directly to the identity of MarijuanaIsMyMuse. These hard drives show criminal record and hence cannot be returned to the accused as these can play a role of evidence in the court of law, so the matter is in the hands of the court. A statement from the office read;
Given the proliferation of cryptocurrency and its documented use in facilitating criminal transactions in other jurisdictions, the Civil Forfeiture Office anticipates receiving more referrals from B.C. law-enforcement agencies involving alternative currencies.
The allegations from the court haven’t yet been proven but the proceedings are still in progress. The Vancouver police and the Civil Forfeiture Office both failed to explain why the assets of the accused are being seized, they also declined to make a statement or comment on this matter and have said that the matter is before the courts to handle.
According to the office, this is the first ever seizure of Bitcoin ever since its formation 12 years ago and according to the reports, U.S. Marshall Service auctioned off about $25 million worth of Bitcoin which was seized in connection of a variety of criminal, civil and administrative purposes.