back to article US cops make 'first ever' Bitcoin seizure following house raid

American cops have made their first ever seizure of Bitcoin after raiding the house of an alleged drug dealer. The Drug Enforcement Administration seized a haul of 11.02 Bitcoins (worth $814.22 at today's rates) from an address in South Carolina on April 12. They were in the possession of a man suspected of dealing drugs using …

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  1. kain preacher Silver badge

    Um

    Clonazepam is the generic for Klonopin. Same drug.

    1. Don Jefe
      Happy

      Re: Um

      Yep. Eat one every morning with my waffles.

      1. Turtle

        @Don Jefe

        "Yep. Eat one every morning with my waffles."

        If you need Klonopin with your waffles, perhaps you need better waffles.

      2. kain preacher Silver badge

        Re: Um

        I take mine with my morning cup of coffee.,

        1. lunatik96
          Megaphone

          Re: Um

          a pint or 2 washes them down quite well

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pretty cheeky of them to refer to him as a 'drug dealer' if he's only selling prescription drugs. In that sense aren't Boots 'drug dealers'? Never let the truth get in the way of a good story though, eh?

    1. thesykes
      FAIL

      The word you're clearly not understanding in your own post is "prescription". This means that, in order to obtain said drugs, you need a prescription from a doctor and for the drugs to be dispensed by a qualified pharmacist. I'm guessing the dealer in this case was neither.

    2. LinkOfHyrule

      We've got a Lloyds and a Boots right next to each other here - talk about turf wars! I expect they'll be gang banging next, fighting over who controls the corner so they can sling their prozac and tampons!

      1. Dave the Cat
        Coffee/keyboard

        Thanks for that... coffee all over my screen and keyboard. :)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @murph

      Heroin can be obtained on prescription.

      Boots only supply what doctors have prescribed.

      Don't make silly comments.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @murph

        Silly comments are welcomed by me, as long as they are funny too.:)

    4. Steve Knox
      Headmaster

      Well, 'drug dealer' is a generic term anyway; it's only modern usage which gives it its specific connotation (much like 'UFO'). Having said that, I think you'll find what qualifies him as an illicit drug dealer is the selling of prescription drugs either without a pharmaceutical license or to individuals without valid prescriptions (or most likely both).

    5. graeme leggett

      also assuming these are the legitimate thing and not fakes made under less-than-fit conditions in some foreign country.

      In which case a whole different set of charges will fall on the unfortunate individual from a great height,

    6. 7teven 4ect
      Childcatcher

      Yes, and everyone who gives anyone else a cup of tea or coffee is a drug dealer, ditto a pint of beer or a cigarette. Also, all policemen and all human beings produce Class A drugs constantly in the form of DMT - produced naturally by the body.

      The distinction between 'legal', 'illegal', and 'prescription' drugs is the problem here. Substances or objects cannot be 'illegal', it is people's acts pertaining to those substances or objects which are actually covered by laws.

  3. i like crisps
    Thumb Up

    Ooooh

    It's like the French Connection all over again.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is "Amerika" not Amsterdam!

      Really? No diamorphine (heroin) for late stage terminal cancer patients? It's not used in post-op pain relief?

      1. kain preacher Silver badge

        Re: This is "Amerika" not Amsterdam!

        Nope MSO4 - Morphine Sulphate .

        1. Wallyb132

          Re: This is "Amerika" not Amsterdam!

          Or Dilaudid...

      2. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: This is "Amerika" not Amsterdam!

        American doctors tend to prescribe Vicodin instead which is basically the same thing.

        1. lunatik96
          Trollface

          Re: This is "Amerika" not Amsterdam!

          Vicodin is crap, I wouldn't give that to anyone I liked. Oxy (codone or contin) on the other hand is very effective.

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Irongut

      Re: This is "Amerika" not Amsterdam!

      You do have plenty of Oxycontin, also known as Hillbilly Heroin.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This is "Amerika" not Amsterdam!

          @Dan Paul

          I think your mistake was more in saying the following...

          and there is some significant collusion between Doctors and Addicts.

          Otherwise, chances are the DEA does not arrest Doctors or Pharmacists too often.

          Specifically because doctors and pharmacists come under investigation all the time. I have personal knowledge of this. Perhaps you've not heard of NADDI - National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators? They're are one organization. There are others. They are investigators for the medical association(s) and law enforcement personnel. Doctors and pharmacists do loose their licenses for knowingly participating in such activities.

          AC for obvious reasons.

        2. lunatik96

          Re: This is "Amerika" not Amsterdam!

          only a fool argues with children, drunks or another fool.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dexedrine good enough for fighter pilots or astronauts to have whenever they like but not for anyone else. (Apparently the best 5% in academia world wide all all on some sort of stimulant dunno if it includes stuff like Modafinil).

    I don't get why they don't use it like they do methadone with heroin. (But for people addicted to Methamphetamine). Dexedrine cannot really be abused in a bad way well maybe it could but it would be in a socially acceptable way. You cannot really get high of it. After a very small amount any more doesn't make any difference whatsoever.

    No real side effects. (The no go pill is a perfect antidote to it). The morality police don't have any control over the Military or NASA.

    But really difficult to obtain. (Only people on it in the UK I know of are people who are Narcoleptic who have been on it for decades).

    It is better than Ritalin in almost every way.

    My Aspergers is not affected positively with any drug other than dexedrine not that I have come into contact with any for 10 years. (Not tried Adderall). That includes street preparations of all stimulants. Loads of fancy expensive legal ones. Not tried Modafinil either seems very dodgy the way you have to go about getting it.

    1. Elmer Phud

      No real side effects.

      Hmm, I remember back in the days when most teenagers round here either had a parent who had Dex on scrip or knew of someone else who had a parent who did.

      They were handed out like sweeties - knew several people who munched the things constantly and were total wrecks.

      Me, I never liked the comedown much, so didn't get in to them really.

    2. kain preacher Silver badge

      Here they give you adderal for adhd. which is amphetamine aspartate; amphetamine sulfate; dextroamphetamine saccharate; dextroamphetamine sulfate.

    3. mike2R

      The world's militaries have a long history of stimulant use, I'm not necessarily sure if that something the rest of us should emulate. From:

      http://exiledonline.com/war-nerd-this-is-your-war-on-drugs/

      "Drugs make WW II a lot easier to get. How did those huge armies fight so long and so hard, when people these days are so weak? Cuz, among other things, they were high, dude. In fact, I never understood how either side could have stood up to the misery of a battle like Stalingrad until I found out that every damn soldier on both sides was high on speed. Once you know that, Stalingrad is a whole lot easier to understand. If you’d given my construction-site boss Don a submachinegun and told him to hold our construction site to the death—and supplied him with enough meth for the duration—he’d have been all for it."

    4. 7teven 4ect
      Boffin

      That's interesting. It's pretty much common knowledge nowadays that some cannabinoids may ameliorate core symptoms of autism spectrum disorders but not much talk of the use of amphetamines, perhaps with the exception of MDMA (See Danforth Research).

      Which symptoms do you find are reduced by dexedrine? With Asperger's being social-sense related, are you able to tell if a drug can improve your social skills or do you have to get second-party corroboration? From whom?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Innocent.

    And if he is found to be innocent, they will be required to give them all back, otherwise Anonymous will likely take it all from the police, by force.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This article lacks precision

    > 11.02 Bitcoins (worth $814.22 at today's rates)

    Today at what time?

    1. Steve Knox
      Joke

      Re: This article lacks precision

      I don't know -- that looks like five-digit precision to me...

  8. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Legality and fractional amounts

    "This would mean cops would have had to create their own Bitcoin wallet and forcibly transfer the alleged dealer's virtual dosh to themselves. Although El Reg can't confirm that this is what the cops did, if it turns out to be true the police may be a sticky legal situation, as Bitcoin's legality in the US is far from certain."

    Probably not, in undercover and sting operations, the police do all kinds of things that are otherwise illegal. Selling drugs, buying drugs, solicitation of prostitution, to name 3.

    This can run into embarrasing problems -- years back in Florida, the police did a sting, so they get to that point and say "freeze!" and their cops pour in. The other guys are like "No, *you* freeze!" and *their* cops pour in -- DEA, state, county, and local cops all start pouring in and pointing guns at each other. Yes, undercover sellers and undercover buyers spent something like a year and a half tracking each other leading up to "the big bust" where they all tried to bust each other. LOL.

    On a tangent, I had no idea it was possible to deal in .02 bitcoins. How does a fractional bitcoin work?

    1. Ole Juul

      Re: Legality and fractional amounts

      How does a fractional bitcoin work?

      Bitcoins are not physical. They're just numbers in a database so you can have any fraction you like. Bitcoin currently allows 8 decimal places, but that can also be expanded in the future.

    2. nk

      Re: Legality and fractional amounts

      >How does a fractional bitcoin work?

      The lowest amount is 0.0000001 which is called 1 satoshi. Bitcoin can be divided up to 8 decimal points. If it catches on, perhaps further decimal points will be added in the future. 1 bitcoin is already quite a lot of money for small transactions

    3. My Alter Ego
      Thumb Up

      Re: Legality and fractional amounts

      "This can run into embarrasing problems..." This was part of the plot of Tom Sharpe's [superb] Indecent Exposure.

    4. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Legality and fractional amounts

      They seize illegal drugs all the time without any problems, so why can't they seize bitcoins where it isn't so clear whether or not they are illegal. Obviously they are proceeds of crime, so illegal for that reason in the same way that dollar bills would be in the same context.

      1. Ole Juul

        Re: Legality and fractional amounts

        so why can't they seize bitcoins

        It is unclear that they know how to do that. Do you know how?

  9. BornToWin

    20 years in the slammer

    should do this chap well.

    1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      Re: 20 years in the slammer

      Sending him to prison for 20 years is only dealing with the symptoms of rampant drug abuse in the US. It solves nothing, and in fact often ends up making things much worse. Drug addiction and the war on drugs is a closed, vicious cycle. Until society starts dealing with with the causes and start implementing proper political, educational and treatment policies, there's really no light at the end of this tunnel.

      I don't know if your calling for a 20-year sentence is because of some fucked-up absolutist sense of morality or because you're some sort of sadist who enjoys piling suffering on top of suffering. The two are probably not mutually exclusive. I do know that for as long as the current system continues in the same stupid, vicious cycle, we'll always have people like you offering up these gems of "wisdom".

      How sad.

      1. Oninoshiko

        Re: 20 years in the slammer

        yes, dealing with the problem would be just making it legal.

      2. Gerardo McFitzpatrick-O'Toole
        Holmes

        Re: 20 years in the slammer

        Drug use *is* a problem that won't just be solved by locking people up, but people don't deal drugs because they are "swept up amidst the symptoms of rampant drug abuse" - they do it because there's a lot of relatively easy money in it (due to prohibition). If drugs were legalised, the money in "drug dealing" and therefore drug-dealing itself would vanish overnight.

        What separates two people of the same intelligence, life experience and qualifications, one of whom works legally, and the other that is a drug dealer, is that the drug dealer has chosen to trade their scruples for a lot more money. Again, if drugs were legalised, the drug dealer would simply switch to a different illegal activity that commanded a premium above legal occupations.

        1. Ru

          Re: 20 years in the slammer

          Again, if drugs were legalised, the drug dealer would simply switch to a different illegal activity that commanded a premium above legal occupations

          Oh? I posit that most of the folk lower down on the totem pole would not., because the alternatives are higher risk, more effort, and probably of much less personal interest. I also suspect that these alternative careers will not be nearly as lucrative.

        2. C 18
          Facepalm

          Re: 20 years in the slammer

          >If drugs were legalised, the money in "drug dealing" and therefore drug-dealing itself would vanish overnight.

          The drugs this guy was arrested for dealing are already legal.

          1. David Hicks
            Facepalm

            Re: 20 years in the slammer

            >> The drugs this guy was arrested for dealing are already legal.

            Err, no, they are prescription drugs and obtaining them without a prescription is illegal. So "facepalm" right back at you.

            1. C 18

              Re: 20 years in the slammer

              Which is the point I was trying to make...

              It's not the legality of the drugs that's the point here, it's the 'license to sell' them.

              If there was a legal 'license to sell' the illegal drugs this would not end the illegal trade of drugs overnight. Those guys with the guns won't back down so easily.

              Currently the guys with the guns have the license to sell the illegal drugs, and the pharmacies have the license to sell the legal ones.

              There is illegal drug-dealing and legal drug-dealing. It's not the drugs that are the problem...

              1. David Hicks

                Re: 20 years in the slammer

                >> It's not the legality of the drugs that's the point here, it's the 'license to sell' them.

                This comes down to *exactly* the same thing, and is a pointless distinction to draw.

                Most people would say heroin was an illegal drug, but it can be prescribed and dispensed in some circumstances by licensed individuals. This is not what anyone means by legalisation.

                1. C 18

                  Re: 20 years in the slammer

                  >This comes down to *exactly* the same thing, and is a pointless distinction to draw.

                  Then I'm not explaining myself well.

                  Let's take 'illegal drugs' and 'legal drugs' and call them 'demand', as in what the market demands. Call it the product if you wish, whatever.

                  There is also a supply, obviously. There are two bodies controlling supply, one is the government endorsed, tax collecting, 'okay by the general populace' body, and the other is the criminalised one.

                  Both bodies are reluctant to surrender control of their market to the other. That's the problem.

                  The demand is the same to the consumer. They want X, they go to the supplier and get X. If one supplier doesn't have X, or doesn't recommend that they get any more X, they go to another supplier until one has X or writes a prescription for them, depending on the nature of X.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. Yet Another Commentard

    How does one seize a virtual coin?

    I'm just curious - do these things exist on a server somewhere and the owner has some form of code to retrieve them/prove ownership?

    Can he just have them transfered to another person from his mobile while sitting in the back of the copcar? Could law enforcement have saved a trip down the road and just served notice on bitcoin (the company) to freeze this guy's account?

    I mean, it's not like they'd be sitting on the table, or down the back of the sofa to be physically seized.

    1. xS9

      Re: How does one seize a virtual coin?

      Nope it's purely a P2P managed currency, so it can't be revoked centrally.

      The Police would either have to be sure

      - He doesn't have a backup of the wallet keychain elsewhere (they could never be sure)

      - Be able to break his wallet password and transfer for the funds to a wallet they own.

      I'd imagine if you were into organised crime you'd have your digital wallet in a few places and someone else would be able to move that currency out of there pronto if anything happend.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How does one seize a virtual coin?

      Can he just have them transfered to another person from his mobile while sitting in the back of the copcar?

      Really? Who is going to still have their mobile if they are handcuffed (behind their back) and in the backseat of a cop car on the way to the crossbar hotel?

  11. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    So, come on then cops. Are bitcoins currency or aren't they?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Are BitCoins Currency ?

      No, they are a tradeable commodity just like rice, beans, gold or dollars. The attribute that sets them apart from rice etc. is the ability to transfer them from one person to another without any physical contact.

      I imagine the cops sold him some 'stuff' in exchange for some bitcoins, when he accepted physical delivery of the aforementioned 'stuff' they nicked him.

    2. David Hicks

      >> Are bitcoins currency or aren't they?

      Why would the police have any part in defining that?

      Who cares what they think?

      All they care about are that he was receiving them in return for drugs. It could have been dollars or cans of beans, it's still the proceeds of crime.

      1. Suricou Raven

        It does make one difference: Once the case of over and offender sentenced there will still be the issue of what to do with the coins (assuming they have the wallet password). Potentially they could be treated as siezed assets and turned into funding for the department, either via exchange into dollars or selling at auction. It's possible the police department may wish to do that, but they could also face pressure from above by administrators or politicians who do not wish to 'legitimise' bitcoin as a currency, and will instead order the wallet be simply deleted.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Once criminals move in to to take over the slack operation the security should improve, these people ain't stupid;

    The police can then resume operation "destroy competition on your behalf to make drug profit worthwhile otherwise it would be just cost of production instead of the cost of a nationwide police force to take out rivals" and if you survive that move into bribes, politics, extreme violence.

  13. Anonymous Noel Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Sure...

    "Drug dealer."

  14. Old Handle

    This story has been going around for a little while now, and I still can make no sense of it. Did they raid his house and take his bitcoins, or did they "sting" him on Silk Road and keep the BTC he sent? Or both somehow? It seems like all we really know is the DEA included "11 bitcoins" in a published list of seized assets and everything else speculation.

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