The Australian Police carried out an operation against an online black market that operated in the dark net of the country. In addition to having confiscated different assets from the site’s administrators, the police also managed to track and seize $6 million in Bitcoin, the highest amount ever seized in cryptocurrencies in Australia.
According to information released by the Police, the authorities acted against a black market that operated on the internet, selling mainly narcotics and drugs to residents of the country. The police operation carried out searches of properties in different cities in the state of Victoria, including Kinglake, Preston, Prahran, Dollar and South Yarrah.
The joint operation was carried out with the East Gippsland Criminal Investigation Unit and the Bass Coast Criminal Investigation Unit. Items seized during the search include different narcotics that have yet to be analyzed, but police believe they are stockpiles of cannabis, Psilocin (hallucinogenic mushrooms), MDMA, prescription drugs, cocaine and methamphetamine.
US$9 million seized, most in Bitcoin
Authorities also carried out the seizure of the criminals’ properties valued at US$1.43 million, as well as vehicles valued at US$70,000. The total number of assets confiscated from criminals is US$9.3 million, almost R$50 million.
Most of this amount was in Bitcoin, which represented $6 million (R$ 32 million) of the amount seized. Three people were arrested during the investigation, including a 30-year-old man and a 31-year-old woman, both of whom were interrogated by police before being released. The woman was charged with possession of cannabis and will be tried in 2022.
The commander Mick Frewen, commented on the case, talking about how this is the “new face” of organized crime and money laundering, using technology to continue acting illegally.
“This is an incredible result and one that highlights the modern nature of serious and organized crime. This is the 21st century version of drug trafficking and money laundering, with criminals using technologies to allow a great deal of harm and misery to communities.”
The case also highlights how Bitcoin, contrary to what many want to assert, is not a completely anonymous and untraceable currency. These cryptocurrency seizures are becoming quite common in different countries, showing that the police are gradually managing to “chase” the new technologies.
This, in a way, is not bad for Bitcoin, after all, it makes it unfeasible as a currency used for criminal activities, which consequently brings down one of the main narratives of the currency’s detractors.