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South Korean Court Jails Duo for Crypto-powered Drug Trafficking

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read
Two South Korean Crypto-powered Drug Traffickers Jailed

A South Korean court has jailed two people for crypto-powered drug trafficking, as the nation’s judiciary continues to crack down on Bitcoin and altcoin-fuelled crime.

Per News1, the Namyangju Criminal Division of the Uijeongbu District Court found a man aged 31 and a woman aged 28 guilty of violating the Narcotics Control Act.

Crypto-powered Drug Traffickers: Crackdown Continues

Presiding judge Ahn Bok-yeol gave the pair identical sentences. Ahn sentenced the duo to jail for eight months each, in addition to two years of probation.

The judge also ordered both the man and the woman to attend 40 hours of drug rehabilitation and treatment classes.

The court heard that the duo paid a drug dealer using an unnamed cryptoasset, as part of a transaction arranged via the Telegram chat app.

Prosecutors explained that the drug dealer “hid vials of synthetic marijuana” in a secret place in April last year.

The dealer then contacted the duo to explain where they had hidden the drugs. Prosecutors said the hiding place was part of “the outdoor unit of an air conditioner installed in a public building” in the capital Seoul.

The court heard that “to avoid police tracking,” the “transactions were conducted using virtual currency.”

A branch of the Uijeongbu District Court.
A branch of the Uijeongbu District Court. (Source: LG HelloVision Gyeonggi Buk-bu/YouTube)

Crypto Is Drug Dealers’ ‘Currency of Choice’

In sentencing, Judge Ahn stated:

“Drug crimes are difficult to detect. Such crimes often produce incidents of recidivism. They also have a significant negative impact on society as a whole due to […] their addictive nature.”

However, Ahn claimed that the court had been lenient in its verdict, and added:

“The court has taken into account the fact that the defendants acknowledged their crimes and showed remorse. We also considered the fact that the defendants had no history of similar crimes.”

Crypto-powered drug crime is on the rise in South Korea, where the government has declared an “all-out war” on it.

Despite a sharp increase in convictions and increased police monitoring of blockchain networks, dealers are still advertising their services online with impunity.

Dealers Advertise with Impunity

On June 10, found scores of X posts and Telegram channels advertising “nationwide” (South Korean) drug delivery services. found these channels and posts with relative ease, simply by searching for commonly used Korean drug-related argot.

Many posted details including crypto wallet addresses, and mentioned payment in tokens such as BTC and USDT.

Media reports have stated that Telegram has become a “department store” for young South Koreans – with Bitcoin and altcoins their “currency of choice.”