US Authorities Seize $54 Million in Crypto from New Jersey Narcotics Ring

    New Jersey authorities, led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, have seized $54 million in cryptocurrency from a drug trafficking group. Christopher Castelluzzo and associates attempted to move funds for tax avoidance, leading to the forfeiture action. The investigation reveals a crypto operation dating back to 2013, with substantial holdings in Ethereum and various altcoins.

    New Jersey’s U.S. Attorney’s Office initiated a civil forfeiture action, seizing $54 million in crypto from a drug trafficking group involving Christopher Castelluzzo. The move followed Castelluzzo’s attempt to shift funds internationally to evade taxes while serving concurrent 20-year sentences.

    FBI Agent James Dennehy emphasized the agency’s ability to trace illicit proceeds, stating the forfeiture as a deterrent.

    The defendants had been operating since 2013, primarily dealing drugs for crypto on dark web markets. Despite the $54 million value, it doesn’t fully represent their total drug sales.

    Castelluzzo, still holding 0.49 BTC, diversified the majority into cryptocurrencies like Ether (30,000 ETH seized), Chainlink, Polkadot, and Algorand. U.S. Attorney Phillip R.

    Sellinger affirmed the justice system’s commitment to recovering illegal gains, whether in cash or crypto, emphasizing the pursuit of financial accountability for criminal activities.

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