Business 12 February 2019

Erik Gibbs

Australian cops mistake crypto mining farm for pot farm

Police in South Australia had their man. They conducted their investigation, their due diligence and waited for the right opportunity to pounce. The subject they were after was certainly a marijuana green thumb, with a large pot operation covertly hidden inside his home. Adrenaline rushing, the officers cautiously approached the home and pounced, ready for their face time as they showed the fruits of their labor. Then, the shocker. 

The marijuana grow farm was anything but green leafy plants – it was a cryptocurrency mining farm. The police force had mistakenly come to the conclusion that, because of an exorbitant amount of electricity being drawn by the home, it had to be a marijuana farm. 

The victim, Rob Butvila, returned home to find the place ransacked. A note on the door informed him that the police had been there, with nothing more than a note that essentially read, “Oops,” adding that any questions could be phoned in to police headquarters. 

Butvila posted about the incident on YouTube, and explains in the description, “SAPOL [South Australian Police] used brutal and destructive force, kicking in doors without a magistrate issued warrant to find cryptocurrency mining computers where they expected to find a marijuana grow room.”

The police were nice enough to leave the phone number, but it apparently doesn’t serve its intended purpose. Butvila adds in the video that, when he tried to ask who will pay for damages, “they hung up.”

He further explains, “No appology [sic], not even so much as a phone call, leaving the property unlocked, gates, doors and fence panels removed and broken, property free for the other criminals of society (the ones without badges) to pick over the scraps. [T]hese cops messed up.”

Apparently, the raid took place without permission from a judge. Butvila explains, “No special warrant was required, they acted under their standard abuse of power ‘general warrant’ with no permission from a magistrate to forcibly enter. [E]ven a simple phone call was too hard!”

It’s easy to see how a marijuana grow could be confused with a crypto mining operation. Look at the similarities – actually, there aren’t any. This certainly seems to be a case of the police overstepping their authority. I would imagine this isn’t the last we’ve heard of the police that can’t distinguish a green plant from a computer.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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