The Monmouth County in New Jersey, USA, had earned profits when it liquidated cryptocurrencies that were seized during a raid in the context of an illegal drug distribution clampdown in 2018.
According to a report from NBC New York, local authorities from the county confiscated Bitcoin (BTC) during the raid in which investigators later found that the digital assets were part of profits made by criminals through their drug sales.
The county sold the cryptocurrencies for around $198,000, reportedly making 300% in profits from the liquidation done when BTC was trading at around $57,000.
How the county gained ownership of crypto
In 2019, Monmouth County filed a forfeiture complaint when the arrested suspect pleaded guilty to the charges against him.
After that, owning rights for the seized crypto went to the county. Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said, “The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office leads the front on innovative law enforcement strategies and practices necessary in the emerging new crypto world.”
The county prosecutor also added that this would serve as an effective template for the state law enforcement agencies in the cryptocurrency market – “a place where we can expect proceeds from crimes to continue to be concealed.”
Not the first time and probably won’t be the last
This is not the first time that cryptocurrencies were seized in Monmouth County, as back in 2017, authorities busted 16 people on the grounds of defrauding several financial institutions.
Operation Plastic Army was the first of its kind in New Jersey County and led to the seizure of digital assets worth $1.25 million. The assets, however, are yet to be liquidated.
Monmouth County’s action is proof that governments have a tendency to auction cryptocurrencies confiscated from criminal activities. France did the same thing in March when the French government auctioned 611 Bitcoins (BTC), worth almost $34 million back then.