Crypto and Drugs Seem to Tie Together
While cryptocurrencies offer many benefits, one of their deterrents involve the growing dark web and their alleged use in both drug and weapons purchases. Many believe that currencies like bitcoin and Monero are consistently utilized to purchase illegal contraband via the dark web, and cases like these don’t work to improve crypto’s shaky reputation.
The three men were originally apprehended in October 2017, but new details are emerging as they await a set court appearance on May 23. At the time of their arrest, two of the men had several drugs on them, including 33 kilograms of cocaine, MDMA and ketamine. They also possessed several vials of testosterone pills.
They are Jackson Li and Steen McBeth, two bodybuilders in their 20s that are now facing life imprisonment for their roles in the scandal. Both allegedly sought to import the drugs, along with others that have since been impounded by law officials.
The men ultimately came under scrutiny when the country’s national postal service discovered “suspicious” packages destines for the men’s addresses. These packages, upon further examination, were discovered to contain several different drugs, including 15.8 kilograms of MDMA, 2.6 kilograms of cocaine, and 1.1 kilograms of ketamine.
In addition, it has been discovered that the drugs were purchased through the dark web with bitcoin. Immediately, police raided the men’s homes and impounded McBeth’s newly purchased Lamborghini sports vehicle among other items.
Both men appeared to be working alone at first, though in March of this year, a third arrest was made. Sam Karagiozis was apprehended at his home in Melbourne. Legal officials claim his home was filled with additional drug-related paraphernalia.
Before getting involved in the drug business, Karagiozis and his associate McBeth were cryptocurrency entrepreneurs and started a company named Auscoin prior to 2017. Karagiozis continued to work this business during the bitcoin spike two years ago and long after his partner was arrested.
The company was allegedly very successful, and Karagoizis was invited to the Australian Open later in the year. He also appeared on a segment of “60 minutes” and unveiled new plans to plant cryptocurrency ATMs all over Australia to make “cryptocurrency more easily accessible to would-be users.”
Is the Money from Drugs Really Worth It?
Among the property seized from Karagiozis before his March arrest were several bank accounts, cash, cryptocurrency businesses and a BMW motorcycle.
Police also alleged that Karagiozis owns several homes and properties, many of which he’s been liquidating to cover debts. They also claim that these properties were purchased with money earned through respective drug deals. He faces 14 counts of drug trafficking, while McBeth faces up to 16. A trial is set to begin in late May.