The greater Bitcoin community has been besieged by various levels of criminal activity, particularly over the last three years, as Bitcoin has become much more noticed by the mainstream. From the Silk Road’s dominance of the deep webs’ drug trade, to various ransomware and money laundering schemes, Bitcoin has attracted more than just your 21st century early adopting tech geek to its skill set. This weekend, Bitcoin’s public image took another hit, as the CEO and the CTO of the popular peer-to-peer exchange Paxful were arrested in South Beach on multiple weapons and drugs charges.
Posing for the cover of ‘Soldier of Fortune’ perhaps?
On Friday afternoon at South Beach, Miami, Florida the Paxful CEO, Mohamed (Ray) Yousseff, CTO Artur Shaback, and Head of IT, Ivan Suhharev, seemed to be having a grand old time at the Del Rio Apartments on 1100 Collins Avenue. This allegedly included taking pictures brandishing an AR-15 automatic rifle, while wearing masks. At least, this was according to local area residents who could see them on the balcony, and then called the police to investigate. This seems to be something that Ivan has done more than just once.
Mohamed (Ray) Yousseff apparently owns a penthouse on the 11th Street, Collins and he were taking pictures on the roof with the rifle when the police arrived, after sweeping every floor of the building and reaching the penthouse apartment, they found the men with the weapon and an addition of about 500 rounds of ammunition, and a container of drugs suspected to be cocaine and hashish, were recovered.
Yousseff faces charges of cocaine and hashish possession with the intent to distribute. Schaback and Suhharev face charges of improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon or firearm. All men posted the standard $1000 bond and were released. They will face another bond hearing shortly.
The quantities involved and any prior record for drug offenses by Ray Youssef are unknown at this time. However, if one were so inclined as to review the state’s statutes for drug offenses with an intent to sell/distribute, you’d find that the following would apply for the Paxful CEO Ray Youssef, if convicted of possession of the aforementioned charges:
“For drug distribution activities prosecuted as possession with an intent to sell, a third degree felony, the term of imprisonment can last for up to five years and require a fine up to the amount of $5,000. Though state laws set minimum sentences, the prosecutor may be able to pursue sentences greater than the minimum, if permitted to do so by the Florida Statutes.”
I contacted the Paxful website through their chat box to see if this turn of events will affect trading on Paxful. My response was received about 20 minutes later from ‘Marcos,’ who said “No, why? Also, they will explain everything soon.”