Police in the Australian state of Victoria confiscated approximately $ 6 million in Bitcoin from local drug dealers. This is the largest “catch” of law enforcement agencies in the form of a digital asset in the entire history of the country.
In addition to cryptocurrency, the police also seized drugs: cannabis, psilocin, MDMA, prescription drugs, and “white powder and crystals.”
Another interesting detail is that the attackers arrested in this case may be associated with the famous Silk Road platform.
How cryptocurrencies are used
The incident was commented on by Commander Mick Fruen of the Victoria Crime Department. Here is his remark, in which the expert shares his attitude to the situation.
This is a modern version of drug trafficking and money laundering, in which criminals use the latest technology to harm society.
Note that not everyone considers cryptocurrencies to be exclusively a tool of criminals. In particular, the former head of the CIA, Michael Morell, said that due to the transparency of the blockchain, it is simply inconvenient for fraudsters to use it. Yet all of their translations – albeit without disclosed identities – are permanently entered into a public database.
According to Decrypt, a 31-year-old woman and a 30-year-old man were arrested, whose names have not yet been disclosed by law enforcement agencies. The pair’s testimony is now being studied for its connection to the Silk Road darknet platform, which gained popularity back in 2012.
Here is a quote from law enforcement officers.
The police are active in forums on the dark web and receive information from a wide range of sources, including our Australian and international law enforcement partners.
As a reminder, the Silk Road platform was one of the first sites to accept payments in BTC. With its help, drugs, as well as other illegal or legal goods were distributed. The FBI finally closed Silk Road back in 2013, at that time the trading volume of the site for two years of its existence reached $ 1.2 billion. That same year, Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht was arrested on charges of money laundering, conspiracy to hack into computers, and conspiracy to trade drugs. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
After the closure of Silk Road, hundreds of thousands of bitcoins were confiscated from the platform’s wallets and auctioned off for investors. Most interestingly, about 444 thousand BTC worth approximately $ 20 billion at the current cryptocurrency price are still lost.
Speaking of confiscations, a similar curious incident happened recently in Sweden. We are talking about an arrested drug dealer who previously accumulated 36 BTC during his entire activity. He was arrested, and the court ordered the confiscation of funds from him – but only in dollar terms. Over the past months, the value of Bitcoin has skyrocketed to the point that law enforcement only needed to sell 3, not 36 BTC, to confiscate it . The remaining 33 bitcoins, worth just over $ 1 million, were returned to the offender, who is now serving a prison sentence.
Prosecutor Tove Kullberg commented on the situation. Here is a replica.
It is unfortunate that this led to consequences that I could not have foreseen earlier. The lesson is that the damage from crimes related to cryptocurrency must be considered specifically in cryptocurrency, since the price of Bitcoin grows over time.
Illegal activity still leaves a black mark on the image of digital assets, both in the eyes of governments and large investors. Fortunately, over the years, the efforts of law enforcement agencies around the world have borne fruit: the cryptocurrency industry is becoming less and less like the “Wild West” that it used to be. We believe that the situation will improve further. Especially considering that the largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance introduced mandatory verification for all platform users the day before. Obviously, many will follow this example.