A Maryland federal court has indicted a dark web drug dealer from Maryland known as Xanaxman of laundering $137 million worth of Bitcoin from prison. Xanaxman, real name Ryan Farace, was imprisoned three years ago for selling Alprazolam, a form of strong anxiety drug Xanax, on dark web markets. In November 2018, the court ordered Farace to forfeit 4,000 Bitcoin earned from selling drugs. That much Bitcoin would be worth $187.2 million today.
Farace continued money laundering while serving a 57-month prison sentence.
According to the federal indictment, Farace continued money laundering while serving a 57-month prison sentence, which the court unsealed on Wednesday. The indictment alleges that Farace, with the help of his father, Joseph Farace, laundered drug proceeds between October 2019 and April 2021. In connection with these allegations of money laundering, the Drug Enforcement Administration seized 2,875 Bitcoin in February and another batch of 59 Bitcoin in May. Today, that Bitcoin would be worth $137 million.
Over $800 million in cryptocurrencies was sent to dark web markets in 2019.
Reliable data about how much the crypto is spent on the dark web is difficult to obtain. In one attempt, blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis estimated that over $800 million in cryptocurrencies was sent to dark web markets in 2019. The most popular marketplace, the Silk Road, for buying illicit drugs on the dark web was forced to shut down by the FBI in 2013. The agency had seized 173,991 Bitcoin (worth $33.6 million at the time), but there’s still 444,000 Bitcoin missing; 70,000 Bitcoin that mysteriously moved in November 2020 was part of that batch, according to blockchain analytics firm Elliptic. The Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht was handed a double life sentence for creating the website.