July 25, 2021

What a dope! Drug dealer busted near Sally Gap loses codes to €55m Bitcoin fortune

A drug dealer arrested after Wicklow gardai discovered a cannabis farm in a forest near the Sally Gap has lost the codes to a €55 million cryptocurrency fortune.

Convicted drug dealer Clifton Collins (49) lost the codes to access the accounts after hiding them with his fishing rod, which has now gone missing.

The Irish Times today reports that the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) confiscated 12 online accounts, or wallets, containing 6,000 bitcoin. However, the accounts cannot be accessed because the codes are missing.

Collins, originally from Crumlin, Dublin, bought most of the bitcoin in late 2011 and early 2012 using cash he made growing crops of cannabis. The crypto currency has soared in value since then. Collins spent some of his money buying a two-seater gyro plane and learning how to fly it.

In early 2017 he had just over 6,000 bitcoin in one account but he feared it may be too easy for a hacker to access. He decided to spread his wealth across 12 new accounts and transferred exactly 500 bitcoin, worth almost €4.5 million, into each of them.

Collins then printed out the codes for the 12 accounts onto an A4 piece of paper. He hid the paper inside the aluminium cap of his case containing his rod which he kept at his rented home in county Galway.

But when he was arrested with cannabis herb in 2017 in Co Wicklow and jailed for five years there was a break-in at the house and it was also cleared on behalf of the landlord with many of Collins’s items being taken to a dump in Co Galway.

Workers at the dump told gardaí they remembered seeing discarded fishing gear. However, waste from the dump is sent to Germnay and China to be incinerated and the fishing rod case has never been found.

It’s reported today that Collins is a former security guard who briefly became a beekeeper and won awards for his honey before he turned his attention to growing cannabis for more than a decade.

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