Leicestershire, England resident Paul Johnson seemed to be having a ton of success as a tea trader. But according to LeicestershireLive, Johnson was pulling in millions from an international drug-selling operation.
Officers seized a number of illegal drugs from Johnson’s home. Included among the hundreds of lbs of narcotics found were MDMA tablets, LSD, heroin, and ketamine. Authorities mentioned that other drugs as well as paraphernalia were recovered as well. Now Johnson will be spending 8 years locked up.
The 32-year-old Johnson was a business student and used his newly learned financial skills as a weapon. With “dummy” addresses set up in multiple countries, Johnson was guilty of setting up a complex drug delivery operation that took advantage of local mail and parcel systems.
Johnson was caught completely off guard by the raid. He was actually trading cryptocurrencies as the police came through his door, possibly tipping off authorities to further investigate the source of his income.
It was determined that Johnson used bitcoin to purchase his stock of illegal goods. As a result of the raid, Johnson had to forfeit £1.8 million or 2.2 million dollars in assets.
Authorities determined that his wife Lia Taylor-Walton aided the criminal actions. It was determined that she benefited from the purchased properties and cars with Johnson’s illegal earnings and aided in concealing the source of Johnson’s new fortune. She received a 2 year sentence for her participation in the illegal operation. But the now separated crime couple was clearly led by Paul who was sentenced to 8 years.
In the past, Paul Wenlock, the head of the Leicestershire Police economic crime unit has urged citizens to come forward if they know of criminals “living lavish lifestyles off other people’s misery.”
He condemned the couple and warned that their jail time may not be the only punishment they receive.
“The courts agreed that the crimes committed by Paul Johnson meant the couple had both benefited financially. The court has made the confiscation order and if the order is not satisfied, then potentially Paul Johnson will serve a further 10 years in default, and Lia Johnson will serve 2 years in default.”
He went on to add that the seizures are important for fighting white-collar crime. “Money and assets recovered after confiscation orders are granted are submitted to the Home Office and a percentage is then returned to the police, criminal justice system and used to compensate victims of crime. The Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) is an important piece of legislation that allows the police to recover assets from criminals and ‘take the cash out of crime’. Wenlock concluded, “those convicted of a crime should not be allowed to benefit financially even after they have served their sentences.”
Bitcoin often appears in headlines regarding the sale and purchase of contraband materials. Digital assets, in general, have taken heat for aiding criminal actions, but in many cases, the transparency of Bitcoin with all transactions visible, leaves a clear trace for authorities to follow.