Law enforcement officials announced on Thursday that they had seized the largest amount of bitcoins in the history of the Justice Department related to illicit dark web marketplace activity.
Bitcoins valued at more than $1 billion believed to be connected to the notorious Silk Road have been identified for forfeiture, according to U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson of the Northern District of California and Special Agent in Charge Kelly R. Jackson of the IRS Criminal Investigation.
“Silk Road was the most notorious online criminal marketplace of its day,” said U.S. Attorney Anderson. “The successful prosecution of Silk Road’s founder in 2015 left open a billion-dollar question. Where did the money go? Today’s forfeiture complaint answers this open question at least in part. $1 billion of these criminal proceeds are now in the United States’ possession.”
The Justice Department noted that illegal drugs and other unlawful goods and services – including murder for hire – were sold and distributed through the Silk Road to well over 100,000 buyers from 2011 through 2013.
According to the civil complaint, the IRS criminal division analyzed bitcoin transactions related to the Silk Road, identifying more than 50 transactions this year that were previously undetected. The funds were traced to an bitcoin address of an individual who had allegedly hacked the funds from Silk Road.