Leicestershire Bitcoin drug dealer must pay back £1.8m

image copyrightLeicestershire Police
image captionPolice said Paul Johnson and his wife's belongings will be sold to raise the cash

A drug dealer who used cryptocurrency to import drugs into the UK has been order to pay back almost £2m.

Paul Johnson traded in Bitcoin to bring illegal substances into the country.

The 32-year-old, of Northampton Road, Market Harborough, Leicestershire, was jailed for eight years in February after admitting drug offences at Leicester Crown Court.

He has been given three months to hand over £1.8m and his wife, Lia Johnson, must pay back £135,000.

Leicestershire Police said Johnson "ran an organised business enterprise and traded in cryptocurrency in an attempt to hide his criminal activity".

Drug orders

Officers searching Johnson's home in December 2017 found £7,000 worth of drugs, including heroin, ketamine, LSD and MDMA tablets.

They had been delivered to three properties he was renting, then weighed and packaged in the loft of his home.

An investigation uncovered more than £300,000 worth of Bitcoin on his laptop along with orders for drugs.

Lia Johnson, 28, of the same address, received a suspended sentence after admitting acquiring and possessing criminal property.

The confiscation orders were made after Leicester Crown Court was given a summary of how much profit both had made from their criminal activity.

Under the Proceeds of Crime Act, the amounts must be repaid within three months or both sentences will be increased.

Paul Wenlock, the head of the force's economic crime unit, said: "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."

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