Saturday, 30 June 2018

U.S Authorities Seize Bitcoin Worth $20 Million From Darknet Vendors

Authorities in the U.S have seized Bitcoin (BTC) worth more than $20 million as part of a long-running underground operation targeting illegal activities on the internet. The seizure also included guns, drugs and gold targeting vendors on the Darknet.
The agents also confiscated Bitcoin mining machines as well as equipment believed to have been used to carry out illegal mining activities.  The seizure thwarts common misconception that cryptocurrencies and dark web act as a license of committing untraceable crimes.
The sting operation which took place over the past year, involved a number of agencies including the Department of Justice, The U.S Migration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security as well as the Secret Service and Postal Inspection Service.
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents in New York posed as money launderers in underground market sites as part of the yearlong undercover operation. The agents exchanged hard currency for virtual currency as part of the operation that also led to the seizure of $3.6 million in U.S currency and gold bars.
HIS agents and postal inspectors have already conducted a series of arrests paving the way for the prosecution of more than 35 Darknet vendors. Dozens of cases against vendors have so far been opened around the country, set to affect another 90 plus active cases.
“The Darknet is ever-changing and increasingly more intricate, making locating and targeting those selling illicit items on this platform more complicated. But in this case, HSI special agents were able to walk amongst those in the cyber underworld to find those vendors who sell highly addictive drugs for a profit,” said Acting HSI Executive Associate Director Benner in a press release.
It does not come as a surprise that the agents seized Bitcoin as part of the operation. Criminals have in the recent past turned their attention to cryptocurrency as a way of siphoning and transferring money discreetly.
The seizure of $20 million worth of Bitcoin should raise serious concerns among authorities and regulators, at a time when there have been calls for increased regulation of the cryptocurrency space.  Some countries have already banned the use of cryptocurrencies on concerns they are being used to fuel money laundering activities or used to finance terrorist activities.
The U.S Secret Service in a statement upon the massive seizure said it is proud to work with other law enforcement agencies to combat money laundering through virtual currencies. The agency say it is continuously adapting along with cybercriminals especially those using cryptocurrencies to propagate illegal activities.
Newer Post Older Post

    Share This


Post a Comment