The Canadian province of British Columbia is in search of to set a precedent in cryptocurrency-related legislation enforcement by laying declare to $1.Eight million price of bitcoin, which it seized from a convicted drug seller who allegedly operated below the pseudonym “ MarijuanaIs My Muse” on the notorious darkish net platform Silk Road.
The Vancouver Star reports that the unnamed man was arrested in 2015 after a fluke incidence noticed police raid his dwelling and seize greater than $100,000 price of sealed and packaged marijuana. Seized alongside the marijuana have been a number of reminiscence playing cards, laptops and onerous drives, of which three held various bitcoin quantities.
He was sentenced in 2015 to 9 months in jail for trafficking marijuana, however the concern elevating mud now’s the destiny of the 226.four BTC on his seized onerous drives. Worth a complete of roughly $31,893 in 2013, that bitcoin quantity is now price over $1.Eight million.
Allegations and Counter Allegations
The man, who was by no means convicted of finishing up drug trafficking operations on Silk Road, argues that the Vancouver Police and the Civil Forfeiture Office don’t have any authorized proper to grab or maintain on to his bitcoin since their allegation that he earned them by way of unlawful actions .
In a press release offered to the media, his lawyer, Lolita Rudovica mentioned:
“The property subject to civil forfeiture seized by the police in this proceeding is neither proceeds of crime nor an instrument of unlawful activity. We are currently in the very early stages of the case.”
The matter is sophisticated by the truth that earlier than his arrest, he apparently had no prison file. He alleges that when he went to choose up the seized objects in April 2017, the onerous drives have been lacking. Subsequent data revealed that the drives have been sized by the police as a part of an ongoing investigation.
He argues that this can be a clear violation of a courtroom order in 2017 to return his seized electronics 4 years after they have been seized. He additionally argues that their seizure was illegal in the primary place.
An announcement learn out in courtroom says:
“The defendant seeks a finding from the court that his rights were breached and seeks the exclusion of any evidence obtained by searching private property and obtaining evidence in contravention of the Charter and in violation of a court order by the VPD.”
The Beginning of a Pattern?
The Civil Forfeiture Office, on its half, says that the seized onerous drives include data of gross sales of a number of unlawful and managed substances together with MDMA, ketamine, marijuana, cocaine, crystal meth, heroin, and Viagra. These data, the company says, hyperlink the person to the “MarijuanaIsMyMuse” id on Silk Road, and therefore the drives can’t be returned.
Over and above the investigation, nevertheless, the Civil Forfeiture Office appears to be adopting a distinct stance on enforcement referring to cryptocurrency. According to the Office, that is the first-ever cryptocurrency seizure in its 12 years of existence, and related seizures are prone to grow to be a definite risk going ahead.
A statement from the Civil Forfeiture Office offered to the media reads as follows:
“Given the proliferation of cryptocurrency and its documented use in facilitating criminal transactions in other jurisdictions, the Civil Forfeiture Office anticipates receiving more referrals from B.C. law-enforcement agencies involving alternative currencies.”