US Will Sell $117 Million in Bitcoin Seized From Silk Road Drug Trafficker

The United States has announced plans to sell about $117 million worth of Bitcoin seized from a convicted drug trafficker who operated on the now-shuttered Silk Road dark web marketplace.

A forfeiture notice from earlier this month is now available online, with the government noting that it plans to “dispose” of the cryptocurrency. The notice follows sentencing earlier this month for 38-year-old Ryan Farace and his 72-year-old father Joseph Farace, both of Maryland, for the charge of money laundering conspiracy.

“The United States hereby gives notice of its intent to dispose of the forfeited property in such manner as the United States Attorney General may direct,” it reads, giving people other than the defendants in the case 60 days (from January 10, 2024) to file a petition claiming an interest in the assets.

“Following the Court’s disposition of all ancillary petitions filed, or if no such petitions are filed, following the expiration of the period specified above for the filing of such ancillary petitions, the United States shall have clear title to the property and may warrant good title to any subsequent purchaser or transferee,” the notice reads.

According to the Justice Department, the United States successfully recovered over 2,933 Bitcoin from the Farace family, valued at about $117 million today. The government had listed the approximate value at about $133.5 million when the forfeiture notice was published on January 10.

Ryan Farace was previously convicted in 2018 for a plot to manufacture and sell Xanax pills through dark web marketplaces like Silk Road using the name Xanaxman. The government says that he ultimately received over 9,138 Bitcoin for such transactions—or about $364 million worth as of this writing.

Farace forfeited just 24 Bitcoin in 2020, claiming that he no longer had access to additional funds. But while incarcerated in 2020, Ryan Farace instructed his father Joseph to transfer 2,874 Bitcoin to a third party accomplice to move the funds out of the United States. The pair admitted such actions in their plea agreements. Ryan was indicted for the charges in 2021.

Ultimately, Ryan Farace was sentenced to an additional 54 months in federal prison on January 5, while Joseph Farace was sentenced to 19 months in federal prison on January 8, with two years of supervised release to follow.

Editor’s note: This story was updated after publication with additional details.

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