Comic Books: The Most Creative Money Laundering ToolBy Luis Prada
It isn’t very often that an article can contain the tags “Methamphetamines” and “comic books,” but a recent story from The Smoking Gun accomplishes just such a feat.
30-year-old Colorado resident Aaron Castro is a big fan of comic books. He’s also a big time meth dealer. Rarely do the worlds of caped crusaders and meth heads collide, but Aaron found a way to do it. While most people that make loads of money engaging in illegal actives usually open a business that acts as a front that allows them to filter their tainted money through, Aaron, as if through some kind of mystical nerd alchemy, opted to tread on unexplored territory: he transformed a lot of drug money in to comic books — 18,753 comic books, to be exact.
As is usually the story for big time drug dealers, Aaron was caught. Most of the time federal prosecutors seize the drug dealer’s assets, including any and all cash that may be stored away. But in Aaron’s case there was no cash. Just 18,753 comic books, which in total are valued at around $500,000.
Lonna Gwinn, who says she used to sell Aaron’s meth, claims Aaron’s comic book obsession was so bad that she used to make cash exchanges inside comic books stores, at which point Aaron would turn around and use that cash to buy entire boxes of comics.
Long gone are the days when drug dealers could be spotted from a mile away as they ride around town in their wildly expensive Italian sports cars. Now the guy responsible for getting you baked at night is the same guy that can tell you everything about the Green Lantern Corps, and explain to you, in heavy detail, why Doctor Strange lost the title of Supreme Sorcerer to Brother Voodoo.
So the next time you encounter a comic book geek that spends far too much time and money every month bagging and boarding comics in his garage, you may want to search that garage for an elaborate chemistry set, and maybe some signs of a chemical fire.