Some drug kingpins buy fancy sports cars, diamond encrusted baubles or expensive homes. Crystal meth maestro, Aaron Castro of Commerce City, Colorado had a different way of flaunting his ill-gotten gains: comics books. What began as marginally clever way to launder his drug money through a comics book shop front business apparently turned into an obsession.
According to accomplices Castro forked over an alarming about of his filthy lucre to buy 18,753 comics, including many rare, high-priced first editions. Castro spent so much money on comics in fact (by some estimates $500,000 in all) that his multi-million dollar meth business reportedly suffered frequent cash-flow problems as a result.
Castro was arrested in 2009, along with 40 others including his brother, Alfonzo. The brothers were accused of running a substantial meth trafficking operation that brought large quantities of Mexico-produced crystal meth into Colorado from Arizona. Authorities estimate the brother’s operation moved as much as 100,000 doses per month, worth in excess of $2 million.
In November of 2011 Aaron Castro plead guilty to a variety of charges and was sentenced to 45 years in prison. The comics collection will live on. Along with Castro’s other more mundane possessions, all 18,000+ comics were auctioned off via the U.S. Marshall’s website. The collection drew over 100 bids with a closing price of over $125,000.