Binh Thanh Le of Brockton, Massachusetts, has been sentenced to eight years in prison and will forfeit approximately $2.3 million worth of Bitcoin after starting the “EastSideHigh” darknet market, per the Boston Herald.
“This sentence sends a clear message to Dark Web criminals: the federal government is entering this space. We will find you and we will hold you accountable,” Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins said.
“Thanks to the incredible work of our law enforcement colleagues, there is one less cybercriminal hiding in the shadows,” Rollins added.
Following his prison sentence, Le will be supervised upon release for three further years.
Le started EastSideHigh when he was 22 years old—selling drugs like Xanax, ecstasy, and ketamine.
His illicit business generated him a profit of approximately 59 Bitcoin, which were first seized in a March 2019 law enforcement operation. Today’s news indicates that this seized Bitcoin is now being forfeited.
At the time, the funds were worth approximately $200,000—well shy of today’s price of over $2 million.
In addition to the above funds, Le also held over $114,000 in cash and generated over $42,000 from the sale of a used vehicle.
In June 2019, Le was then indicted with two other individuals for conspiracy to manufacture and distribute drugs. At the time of the seizure, law enforcement encountered over 44 pounds of ecstasy, more than 15 pounds of ketamine, and over 10,000 Xanax pills.
Darknet markets and crypto
Due to cryptocurrencies’ censorship resistance, they have frequently been linked to darknet legal cases.
In August 2021, Maryland’s “Xanaxman” dark web drug dealer—Ryan Farace—was allegedly found to have continued his dealings while in prison—following a forfeiture of 4,000 Bitcoin in November 2018.
Three days before Christmas last year, Khuran Iqbal was jailed for trading crypto on the dark web. In 2014, he was jailed for disseminating terrorist publications and possession of terrorist information.