We were not aware that Denver, CO was a hotbed of both methamphetamines and comics speculation, but the two went hand in hand in a huge meth lab that sold pound and pounds of the stuff. 41 people were indicted in what is being called a “massive” and sophisticated operation. Brothers Aaron and Alfonzo Castro were believed to be the ringleaders and they used a comics collection valued at $500,000 to launder their money.

Among the 100 boxes of comics were collectors’ items, including first-edition Batman and Superman comics stored in protective plastic wrapping. Some of the comics were worth thousands of dollars.

“What we are talking about is money laundering — a means to have something of value that can easily be converted to cash but keeps you from having stashes of cash around,” Suthers said.

But given the volatility in the collectible market, one wonders if this was really a wise way to store assets. Too much investment in, say, Deathmate or recent Captain America issues and the whole drug empire could have come tumbling down.


  1. 1) Given the Mile High Comics is one of the largest back-issue dealers in the country, and has a strong presence in the Denver area, it makes sense. Do the feds track comics purchases at auctions? If you move $10,000 through a bank, the Feds notice instantly (CTR, NIL, SAR). Walk into a comics shop or (better) a convention, and buy $10,000 of old comics, the Feds won’t be notified (aside from a general sales tax report from the vendor).

    2) When will the Feds auction off the comics? *drool*

    3) “The Castro brothers are being held on $1 million bond.” How many golden age Action Comics would they have to sell?

    4) “”These guys commit an awful lot of crimes just to support their habits so we are talking about identify theft, we are talking about robberies, we are talking about burglaries,” [Broomfield Police Chief Thomas C.] Deland said. “I think that’s one of the biggest benefits to take down like this is it makes everyone a little bit safer.”” Hmm.. what if the meth was just a way to fund their comics habit?

    5) Setting up a comics shop as a front to launder money is not a bad idea… you have a ready excuse to travel the country, large amounts spent on collectibles are not unusual, and, if you act correctly, you can be seen as a pillar of your community, sponsoring little league teams and joining the Chamber of Commerce.

  2. MS-13 pigs of the earth. Links to Al Queda. Over 50k estimated in the USA. These two though are just local thugs moving meth. Shame is they shed some crappy light on comics. As for the use of the GL/GA issue. Um, not quite the same thing…

    None the less. CO sounds like a stinky area with meth being so hot there. Wonder where we can get a list of those books and who they bought them from?