Canadian Court Orders Drug Dealer to Hand Over 281 Bitcoins

A court in Toronto, Canada, has ordered a 30-year old drug dealer to surrender CA$1.88 million (US$1.41 million) in bitcoin utilized in illegal activities on the dark web.

According to a report from The Star, Superior Court Justice Jane Kelly mandated Matthew Phan on April 3 to surrender 281.41 bitcoins to the Ministry of the Attorney General. The funds will be handed over to the province of Toronto.

Phan purportedly pleaded guilty in December 2018 to attempting to import a gun and having in possession cocaine and other drugs for trafficking that prosecutors stated were brought on dark web sites.

Kelly commented through the local media:

“It is a reasonable inference to draw that payment for such illegal narcotics sales was made using bitcoin that was found in the digital wallet on Mr. Phan’s computer.” 

In a previous forfeiture hearing this year, Phan debated that not all of his bitcoin was utilized for illegal activities and that portion was utilized for trading gold, according to the report. He also asserted to be selling the cryptocurrency on various exchanges.

Kelly stated in Wednesday’s ruling that, of the 288 bitcoins, she was “not satisfied” that 7.23 bitcoins (roughly $36,000) were proceeds of crime and that they would not be confiscated.

Phan’s computer storing the bitcoins was confiscated in 2015. He is yet to be sentenced.