Zhe Wang, a 20 year-old Queens resident and former engineering student at the University at Buffalo, admitted to money laundering and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. He was one of three people taken into custody.
In 2015, Wang used around $74,000 worth of bitcoins to purchase Xanax from a darknet marketplace. According to the law enforcement authorities, the former UB student sold the controlled substance in order to make a profit.
Bitcoin has been a hot topic in the news as of late because it is unclear if it can be considered a real currency. Currently labeled as cryptocurrency, it has no central bank backing it or a government endorsing it. The digital currency, has no physical form either, that is a bill note or coin. Bitcoin however, is still used as a currency on marketplaces throughout the darknet to purchase weapons and drugs. Bitcoin has a value that fluctuates constantly. It is valued different compared to other government currencies.
Wang arrived to America from China when he was 4 years-old, but the resident still must face the consequences of the justice department. He pleaded guilty to two federal counts on Tuesday in Buffalo Federal Court when US District Judge Richard J. Arcara asked him:
“How did you get involved in something like this?”
“I ask myself those same questions every day,” Wang answered.
At the time of Wang’s indictment, prosecutors stated it was the first bitcoin-related case in the region.