A 27-year old bitcoin exchange operator has been arrested by the Australian Federal Police for running a drug trafficking organization. Bitcoin Exchange Operator Arrested by Australian Federal Police for Running Drug Distribution Ring.
Dating back to 2017, the probe commenced when the AFP arrested two Victorian men for the importing of drugs to Australia. The agency reportedly continued the investigation. This led them to uncover an email-based drug distribution ring operating out of the Australian suburbs of:
- Templestowe Lower
When AFP raided these premises, they found and seized steroids, cash, and ‘cryptocurrency-related items’.
However, the accused drug trafficker was charged by the AFC, after the arrest. For the import, trafficking, and possession of 66 pounds of prohibited drugs. Also, including MDMA, methamphetamine, cocaine, and ketamine.
“The accused played a key role in directing the operations of the criminal syndicate. This used various darknet sites, bitcoin accounts and legitimate business for the sourcing, payment, and distribution of the illicit drugs,”
-AFP said in its official statement.
In the meantime, the Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce got the court’s authorization to appropriate properties worth over $USD 1.40 million connected to the case.
Also, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (AUSTRAC) were led by the raid to boycott two bitcoin trade exchange companies due to their affiliation with illegal drug trades.
As a reminder to Australian bitcoin trade exchanges to either comply or confront prosecution, the anti-money laundering, and counter-terrorist financing watchdog later issued a joint public statement with the NSW Police Force:
“Digital currency exchange providers have had adequate time and opportunity to comply with these new laws and AUSTRAC has already refused the registration of two digital currency exchange providers. Also, we continue to actively monitor the sector’s compliance,”
-said Dr. Nathan Newman, AUSTRAC’s National Manager for Regulatory Operations.
Detective Superintendent Matt Craft, Cybercrime Squad Commander, likewise issued a rigid admonishment against cryptocurrency exchanges, emphasizing that their organizations are diligently keeping an eye on digital currencies just as they do with money.
“Any illicit activity about digital currency exchange providers that is provided to our squad – whether related to organized crime, terrorism, or technology-enabled crime – will actively pursue in partnership with AUSTRAC,”
Australia persists to have the world’s second-biggest number of dark web drug dealers per capita. The Australian Border Force made 43,973 drug detections in 2018. Dealers utilized band-aid packets, DVD covers, and lolly packages to traffick prohibited narcotics.