Australia’s Victoria Police has reported a massive cryptocurrency seizure that is tied to the dark web drug bust with almost AUD 8.5 million ($6 million) worth in digital assets.
The authorities claim this as one of the biggest crypto seizures made in Australia’s history and believe it will affect criminal activity online surrounding illegal drugs, money laundering, and cybercrime as well.
The Criminal Proceeds Squad arrested a couple of people and searched five properties in Victoria. These locations were Kinglake, Preston, Prahran, Dollar, and South Yarra with support from East Gippsland Crime Investigation Unit and Bass Coast Crime Investigation Unit.
A 30-year old man and a 31-year old woman were arrested in relation to the crime. While both of them are free, the woman was released on bail with an upcoming court date for March 3rd, 2022.
Authorities have been following up on a drug trafficking dark web platform since early this year. In their findings, they mention that this site has been live since 2012. Police restrained properties and vehicles worth AUD 2 million in their operation across the country, including a Toyota Prado and VW T-Cross valued at about AUD 100,000.
Additionally, cannabis plants were also found in the properties. Furthermore, police discovered magic mushrooms, MDMA (the psychoactive drug that is commonly referred to as ‘ecstasy’), prescription medication, and white powder/crystals at other locations.
Investigations Still Underway
Mick Frewen of the Victoria Police Crime Command had this to say, “This is a remarkable result and one that highlights the modern nature of the serious and organized crime. This is the 21st-century version of drug trafficking and money laundering, with criminals using technology to enable immense amounts of community harm and misery. Police actively work on these forums and receive information from a wide range of sources, including our Australian and international law enforcement partners,”
As of press time, the county police are yet to release information about which cryptocurrencies had been seized in their ongoing investigation.
In another related incident, $22.25 million in Ethereum (ETH) was seized by Greater Manchester Police’s Economic Crime Unit after intelligence inquiries revealed that USB sticks with significant amounts of ETH were being held onto without any clear explanation for what they’d be used on or why it would matter to anyone who wanted them.
Crime In Cryptocurrency
Crime and theft aren’t really something new in the cryptocurrency space. Drug dealers seem to have found a safe spot in crypto as well. Huge amounts of money have been lost to hackers, with the largest being the latest Poly network attack that had the attacker walk away with $611 million worth of cryptocurrencies.
There was a recent bust of an incredible amount of drugs on the deep internet, which is a part of the dark web where you can trade in all kinds of illegal items. It turns out that these criminals were using different cryptocurrencies as their currency to cover up their tracks.
And to be honest, it’s kind of understandable that the deep web needs cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin, for instance, was created with good intentions in mind and a lot of people already know about it and use it.
The problem with Bitcoin is also an advantage though: everyone can look at the blockchain and see what’s going on. All you have to do is download a special program, which is called a cryptocurrency wallet.
Bitcoin has made it very easy for both authorities and people who want to track illegal activities because everyone can keep an eye out for specific addresses. This makes Bitcoin not so anonymous as people might think.
But other cryptocurrencies try to solve this problem by creating a lot of privacy and obfuscating all transactions. The result is that it’s a lot harder for people to find out who owns what address or wallet. This makes it possible to buy an incredible amount of illegal products without having any troubles with authorities.