In the underground world of the deep web there are few places as nefarious as Silk Road. The site, hidden on the Tor network has long been one of the primary venues for buying and selling contraband using Bitcoin. Now, it seems, the DEA has caught on. On June 23, the organization posted in their standard forfeiture announcements that it had seized 11.02 Bitcoins from a Silk Road user named Eric Daniel Hughes aka Casey Jones after charging him with intent to distribute drugs.
The notification (which has since been updated) notes a BTC wallet “account number” and the price – $814.22 based on the spot price at the time.
13-DEA-581051, 11.02 Bitcoins, Acct.#1ETDwGUC1QcjYuehFr3u1FD3MvDaUs7SFy,
VL: $814.22 which was seized in Charleston, SC from Eric Daniel Hughes AKA Casey Jones on April 12, 2013
The folks at LetsTalkBitcoin did a quick search to follow the coins as they moved through the BTC block chain and found that the 11.02 moved into a new Bitcoin account on April 12. Hughes allegedly distributed Clonazepam and marijuana and is out on $10,000 bond.
What is fascinating is that the DEA has already moved to cover all of the cryptocurrency bases. They they have their own account to where the 11.02 BTC was moved is one thing. However, that they discovered Hughes’ stash is entirely another. It suggests that the DEA, in the case, was aware of the Silk Road and Hughes’ activities – he was described in some postings as being an incautious drug salesperson – and that the sting went down online rather than, as they say, in real life.
Wrote one customer on a Silk Road forum:
While seizure of cash isn’t unusual in itself, it’s definitely the first time Bitcoin users have seen a significant chunk of the cryptocurrency disappear into a government evidence book.