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Internet Drug Ring Pleads Guilty Of Laundering Millions In Cryptocurrency

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The Manhattan District Attorney's Office said two drug dealers have pleaded guilty of laundering $2.8 million in cryptocurrency and Western Union payments by selling steroids and other controlled substances online.

Callaway Crain and Mark Sanchez, both 35, are the first to be convicted in New York State for money laundering involving cryptocurrency.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. said that between 2013 and 2018, the two men sold steroids and other drugs across the U.S. via their website "NextDayGear" and on the dark web. They sold over 10,000 packages and accepted payments in cryptocurrency and Western Union payments, which they laundered and converted to cash.

According to court documents, Crain and Sanchez operated and managed a series of websites that sold anabolic steroids such as testosterone, nandrolone, and stanozolol, as well as controlled substances and pharmaceuticals that can be used to counteract the negative effects of steroid use, including Xanax, Valium, and Viagra.

"These defendants raked in crypto and cash worth millions on their full-service website that sold prescription-free counterfeit steroids and other controlled substances to customers in all fifty states," said the District Attorney.

They face charges for which they can be punished up to seven and a half years in prison. They are expected to be sentenced on July 12, Vance said.

The defendants purchased steroids, precursor chemicals, and other controlled substances wholesale from China and other countries, and shipped them to customers in the US and 16 other countries often under brand names they created. Their customers included professional sportsmen, fitness trainers, police officers, members of the armed services deployed overseas, body builders, drug dealers, doctors, lawyers, and a high school athletic coach.

Typically, customers paid in the form of bitcoin, which the drug dealers laundered through intermediary cryptocurrency "wallets" in order to obscure the source of the funds. They then converted the Bitcoin into U.S. currency using a cryptocurrency exchange service, before depositing the cash into their bank accounts.

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