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Charges link 2 Bitcoin operators to illicit drug site

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The top executive of a New York City-based Bitcoin company and a Florida Bitcoin exchanger have been charged with conspiring to commit money laundering by selling more than $1 million in Bitcoins to users of the black market website Silk Road, authorities said Monday.

Charlie Shrem, 24, the chief executive of BitInstant and vice chairman of a foundation that promotes the Bitcoin currency system, was arrested Sunday at Kennedy International Airport, and Robert Faiella was arrested Monday at his Cape Coral, Fla., residence, prosecutors said.

Faiella and Shrem conspired to sell more than $1 million in Bitcoins to criminals who wanted to sell narcotics on Silk Road between December 2011 and October, US Attorney Preet Bharara said.

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