US: Two Men Plead Guilty to Selling Drugs for Crypto and Laundering $2.8 Million

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance announced on April 23 that two men plead guilty for illicitly selling steroids and controlled substances and laundering millions of dollars in cryptocurrencies and Western Union payments.

Callaway Crain, 35, and Mark Sanchez, also 35, were allegedly behind the darknet website “NextDayGear,” and also manufactured some of the substances they sold. Among their products were reportedly injectable and oral steroids, as well as medication to counteract the adverse effects of their use, including Xanax, Valium and Viagra.

Per the announcement, the defendants shipped over 10,000 packages across the United States, generating over $2.3 million in revenue between 2013 and 2018. They purportedly used Western Union and cryptocurrency transactions, which were laundered and converted to cash.

The two men reportedly purchased steroids, precursor chemicals and other products from China and other countries, which they then marketed and sold, often under brand names they created. Among their customers were reportedly an NFL football player, a college football player, a professional volleyball player, fitness trainers, police officers and members of the armed services deployed overseas.

Crain and Sanchez pleaded guilty to money laundering and criminal sale of a controlled substance, with the promises of prison sentences ranging from two and a half to seven and a half years. They are expected to be sentenced on July 12 this year. Attorney Vance commented:

“Online drug sellers who do business in New York should take note: whether you’re operating in plain sight or in hidden corners of the dark web, my Office has the skills and resources to follow the money, shut down your business, and hold you accountable.”

The announcement claims that this was the first conviction for money laundering involving cryptocurrency that took place in New York. The announcement also points out that on April 16, New York state prosecutors also indicted three men for the sale of illicit drugs on the dark web and laundering $2.3 million in cryptocurrency.

As Cointelegraph reported in January, the value of bitcoin (BTC) sent to darknet markets increased by 70 percent during the last year.