It is popularly known that Bitcoin was and is still being used on the dark web for the trade of illegal weapons, drugs and other non-legalised things. A recent seizure of Bitcoin happened on the 3rd of April ‘19, when the Superior Court Justice of Toronto, Jane Kelly ordered the forfeiture of 281.41 Bitcoins [nearly equal to $1.9 million CAD]. The person responsible for this is a dark web drug dealer named Mathew Phan. Phan was arrested by Canadian law enforcement in the year 2015.
Phan pleaded guilty in December last year for the trading of narcotics and illegal weapons on the dark web. From these transactions, Phan earned money in Bitcoins which has now been confiscated. The police officials also found out that Phan was using Bitcoin to buy firearms and narcotics. Even though Phan was arrested in the year 2015, the case was going on till February this year until the court held a hearing for the forfeiture. At the hearing, Crown Attorney Erin Pancer talked about how the court should be satisfied with the evidence of the large amount of Bitcoin found on Phan’s computer that Phan was involved in the illegal trafficking of firearms and drugs which was financed with Bitcoin. Phan pleaded guilty to all of his crimes but he fought the forfeiture as he claimed that all of the Bitcoin found on his laptop was not through illegal means. Phan claimed that he regularly used Bitcoin to buy and sell gold and other cryptocurrency exchanges.
At the hearing, Kelly summarized her reasonings for the renouncement by saying,
“There is overwhelming evidence to suggest that Mr. Phan was using the dark markets to purchase illegal items such as firearms and silencers. It is clear from the evidence found during searches, particularly of his condominium unit, that he was conducting a large sales operation of illegal narcotics. It is a reasonable inference to draw that payment for such illegal narcotics sales was made using Bitcoin that was found in the digital wallet on Mr. Phan’s computer.”
Justice Kelly said that she was satisfied with the court proceedings which eventually led to the forfeiture of the Bitcoin. As for sentence which Phan will be serving, as of now it is undecided and will be taken care of at a later hearing.