Every time someone gets arrested for drugs, it is safe to assume Bitcoin plays some role. When five Wellington residents were arrested this week, a fair amount of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were confiscated. Cracking down on illegal drug sales and imports is direly needed, though.
Another Bitcoin-related Drug Arrest
People who have been involved in the cryptocurrency industry will know all too well that the connection between Bitcoin and drugs is not hard to find. For some reason, a lot of people buy and sell drugs in exchange for Bitcoin, partially because of the misconception that Bitcoin is somehow anonymous. Considering that this is not the case, it is only normal that this type of activity will eventually lead to people getting arrested.
Five individuals in Wellington, New Zealand were arrested on drug charges earlier this week. The group had imported the drug known as N-Ethylpentylone, which is also referred to as Drone or Brown Sugar on the streets. Although it is labeled as a Class C controlled drug, the government is paying very close attention to this new substance. They want to nip its distribution in the bud sooner rather than later, and doing so requires a proactive approach.
As such, they began an investigation into Brown Sugar in November of 2017. After several months of hard work, they were able to obtain search warrants throughout the Wellington District. The search was narrowed down to four men and one woman, all of whom are between 25 and 37. Two of the men have been charged with multiple drug-related offenses, including importing a Class C controlled drug into New Zealand.
What makes this story particularly bothersome is that the five individuals had over NZ$405,000 worth of cash in their possession at the time of the search. Additionally, officials confiscated several vehicles, 6 kilograms of the drug itself, and over NZ$200,000 worth of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It is unclear what role the cryptocurrencies played in this scheme, yet it seems the group sold some of their drugs on the darknet.
For the time being, it remains unclear what will happen to the confiscated assets. In the past, most confiscated crypto has been sold off through auctions, although not all of the money has been sold in the process. For now, the priority is on investigating this case, getting the individuals convicted, and then worrying about the money.
It is good to see police officials in New Zealand crack down on any and all drug activity. Unfortunately, this also means we will see more of these Bitcoin-related stories in the future. It has become evident Bitcoin and drugs are closely connected these days, partially thanks to the existence of the darknet as a place to buy and sell all kinds of substances. Drug dealers in Wellington will need to be wary of this ongoing crackdown, as these arrests are only the beginning of what is yet to come.