Convicted Darkweb Vendor to Forfeit $150K in Bitcoin
A United States judge ordered Christopher Bania, a recently convicted darkweb dealer who admitted selling a variety of drugs on Alphabay, Hansa, Dream Market, and others, to forfeit more than $150,000 in Bitcoin.
Bania, a 26-year-old from Wisconsin, pleaded guilty to a single charge of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances in September 2019. He admitted selling more than one million dollars worth of drugs on several darkweb marketplaces. Court documents revealed that he had distributed MDMA, LSD, marijuana, and cocaine on the darkweb.
During the raid at Bania's house, law enforcement seized methamphetamine and heroin. He denied ever selling those substances on the darkweb. Authorities also seized 124 Bitcoin, $50,000 in cash, and a variety of altcoins. They had originally charged Bania with possession with the intent to distribute controlled substances, maintaining a residence for the purpose of drug distribution, unlawful importation of controlled substances into the United States, and money laundering related to activity occurring between February of 2016 and continuing until his arrest on March 5, 2019.
The full list of items seized during the raid was included in the court filings:
- large vacuum-sealed bags;
- Digital scales with residue;
- Bags of vinyl gloves;
- Multiple measuring spoons;
- Multiple USPS shipping receipts;
- Packaging material;
- USPS Postage labels
- Detailed log books;
- Multiple “drug ledger” notebooks detailing Bania’s cryptocurrency transactions
- 77.46 grams of hash oil;
- 7.02 grams of amphetamine;
- 6.77 grams of cocaine;
- 0.61 grams of LSD;
- 0.02 grams of fentanyl;
- Five vials of liquid Testosterone Enanthate;
- Five vials of Nandrolone Decanoate;
- One vial of Ketamine
- 79 Carisoprodol pills;
- 43 Modafinil pills;
- and 17 Alprazolam (Xanax) pills.
They also included details from the so-called “meticulous log books” that detailed Bania's operation. In one court document, authorities provided a list of drug purchases by Bania:
- 50,587.09 grams of marijuana;
- 5,255,70 grams of MDMA;
- 600 LSD tabs;
- 449.00 grams of MDA;
- 305,75 grams of 2C-B;
- 114.05 grams of hash oil;
- 85.50 grams of cocaine;
- 57 Alprazolam pills;
- 25 Methaqualone pills;
- 22.50 grams of DMT;
- 17.50 grams of amphetamine;
- 1.00 grams of methamphetamine;
- 0.50 grams of cocaine base;
- and 0.25 grams of heroin.
The government allowed him to enter a guilty plea to a single count of possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute. An October 19 court order directed Bania to forfeit the following cash and cryptocurrency:
Approximately $6,099.44 of the approximately $26,726.11 in United States currency seized from the defendant’s Associated Bank checking account. And approximately 16.91880054 Bitcoin seized from Bania’s “Local Bitcoins” account.
The order also directed the government to dismiss the following assets from the Bill of Particulars:
- Approximately $50,332 in United States currency
- Approximately 0.66224525 Bitcoin seized from Bania’s Electrum wallet;
- Approximately 14.59638483 Bitcoin seized from Bania’s other Electrum wallet;
- Approximately 0.98847108 Bitcoin seized from Bania’s CoPay wallet;
- Approximately 104.34765685 Bitcoin seized from Bania’s Blockchain virtual currency wallet;
- Approximately 0.24130732 Bitcoin seized from Bania’s Coinbase Account;
- Approximately 4.09988953 Bitcoin seized from Bania’s Coinbase Account;
- Approximately 4.5 Ethereum seized from Bania’s Coinbase Account;
- Approximately 3421.989943 U.S. Dollar Coin seized from Bania’s Coinbase Account;
- Approximately 31,629.71915 U.S. Dollar Coin seized from Bania’s “Coinbase” Account;
- Approximately $10,143.42 in United States currency seized from Bania’s Coinbase Account;
- Approximately $18,592.71 in United States currency seized from Bania’s Circle.com Account;
- Approximately 78.49723380 Bitcoin Cash seized from Bania’s Blockchain wallet; and
- Approximately $305.38 in United States currency seized from Bania’s Associated Bank savings account.
The judge additionally ordered the United States to return $20,626.67 of the approximately $26,726.11 in United States currency seized from Bania's Associated Bank checking account.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for December 9, 2019.
United States Customs launched an investigation into Bania after intercepting two packages of drugs that Bania had ordered from a supplier in Belgium. After obtaining a search warrant and locating Bania's “meticulous” notes, the government had enough evidence to obtain a conviction. Previous articles about the case are below: