Early last year, the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) seized 11.02 BTC (worth $814 at the time) from a wallet they alleged belonging to Eric Daniel Hughes of Charleston, South Carolina. The DEA accused Hughes of having the screen name Casey Jones on the now-shuttered Silk Road marketplace.
The bitcoin seizure is said to be the first ever, taking place before the Silk Road shutdown.
The DEA took action to seize the bitcoins after Hughes’ allegedly sold small quantities of a powerful muscle relaxant and marijuana to undercover informants used by police. He was subsequently charged after a raid on his apartment found 10 bags of the narcotic Suboxone.
Hughes’ lawyer David Aylor says his client strongly denies being the possessor of the bitcoins in question, which if true, can have further legal implications. He also denies any connection to Casey Jones.
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Brian Cohen of Let’s Talk Bitcoin points out a couple of anomalies in support of Hughes’ claims. The address from which the coins were seized happens to be the same one from which the DEA conducted another seizure of 17.24 BTC only a month later. However, the account was said to be based in California, with the owner “unidentified”. While an owner can have more than one address, every address can have only one owner.
The second seizure, which took place well over a year ago, was kept under wraps until late last week.
The anomalies support Hughes’ claims that he is a victim of mistaken identity. Interestingly, Aylor has reached out to federal authorities but he “had not heard one way or the other, so this is a huge relief for him.” He added that the DEA has not formally charged his client with any crime.
The case has been referred to the county’s drug court program, which gives non-violent offenders the chance to have charges dismissed if they undergo successful treatment.