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US To Sell $8.5 Million In Bitcoin Seized In Drug-Ring Case

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Bitcoins

Federal attorneys prosecuting a multimillion-dollar opioid drug-ring in Utah are moving quickly to sell seized bitcoin that's exploded in value to some $8.5 million since the alleged ringleader's arrest.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for Utah cites the digital currency's volatility in court documents pressing for the sale. The bitcoin cache was worth less than $500,000 when 27-year-old Aaron Shamo was arrested a year ago.

Spokeswoman Melodie Rydalch said Thursday that bitcoin is new territory for the office.

His lawyer Greg Skordas say they're not fighting the sale. Shamo has pleaded not guilty to a dozen charges.

While there's no global consensus over the status of bitcoin, officials across the U.S. and elsewhere have made millions selling hauls seized from cybercriminals, including 30,000 bitcoins seized in 2014 from the dark-net marketplace Silk Road.