A man has pled guilty to trading bitcoin for illegal drugs. 32-year-old Paul Johnson of Leicestershire in the United Kingdom will now likely face jail time for his actions.
Paul Johnson: Pay with BTC for Your Drugs
Crypto-based crime is rather common throughout the industry, and if bitcoin and digital assets are ever to attain legitimate and mainstream status, their association with the dark web and illicit activity will have to end. Unfortunately, there are too many individuals out there that seem to think bitcoin is the perfect entity for conducting criminal transactions.
Johnson’s misdeeds are relatively similar with those of Ross Ulbricht, a man serving a life sentence for allegedly giving rise to the Silk Road dark web marketplace. Johnson is believed to have run an “organized business enterprise” in which cryptocurrencies were regularly traded as a means of hiding operations.
This was probably Johnson’s first mistake. As we all know by now, bitcoin and similar digital assets are not as anonymous or as private as we’ve all been led to believe. Unless the currency itself is designated as a privacy coin, you can expect your cryptocurrency transaction to be recorded to a digital ledger, thereby providing immutable evidence that the transaction took place. All transfers can potentially be examined by members of the public.
A thorough search of Johnson’s house took place in December of 2017. Overall, law enforcement said they uncovered nearly $10,000 worth of drugs, which included hard core substances like LSD and heroin. These drugs were packaged and shipped from his home to several other properties throughout the county that he was renting.
In addition, police also uncovered a laptop in Johnson’s home that contained approximately $300,000 in BTC and assorted crypto. They also found several unfulfilled orders for drug paraphernalia.
Paul Wenlock – who works with the economic crime unit of the local police force – explained in a statement:
This is one of a handful of cases nationally where cryptocurrency has been used in this way. The evidence against Johnson was overwhelming and he had no choice but to admit to his crimes. He may not have traded drugs on the street, but he knew exactly what he was doing.
Wenlock was placed in charge of tracking the bitcoins that Johnson allegedly owned.
This Happens Too Often
The culprit appears to have had a right-hander he was working with. 28-year-old Lia Johnson was sentenced last Wednesday to roughly two years in prison for acquiring and possessing criminal property. Lia, like her counterpart, was facing substantial evidence against her and had no choice but to plead guilty.
Bitcoin appears to attract crime all over the world. One such case occurred at the end of January 2020, in which two men in Tokyo, Japan were charged with stealing as much as $700,000 in crypto funds from potential investors.