Police in Brazil have arrested a man for operating a clandestine crypto money laundering scheme.
According to reports, during their investigation, the States Department of Drug Trafficking (Denarc) in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, found a clandestine Bitcoin Core (BTC) mining lab in a small house. The authority was chasing a suspect believed to be a drug trafficker on April 23 when they stumbled upon the operations.
The discovery is “something considered unusual in the Rio Grande do Sul.” Police found 25 digital currency mining machines and sophisticated software and hardware in the house which was valued at more than 250,000 real’s ($about 63,000). The mining machines are believed to have been running 24 hours a day.
A man who claimed to be the owner of the equipment told the police that he had only rented the space to conduct his mining activities. He explained that he is not dealing with drugs. The man has since been fined for illegal use of electric power in the house.
Adriano Nonnemacher, a police officer, commented:
“The flat is well-hidden. We are going to investigate further. Everything points to a Bitcoin mining operation. They could be exchanging the money and use it to fuel drug trafficking. Here is also a possibility that they are using the funds derived from drug trafficking to buy Bitcoin.”
Criminals target cryptocurrencies as they make it easy to hide their illegally earned money. Over the year, the drug cartels, money laundering tycoons and many others have taken advantage of the secrecy that comes with transacting in crypto to hide their illegal operations.
Last year, the Brazilian police arrested twelve people. These individuals were accused of being part of a multi-million dollar laundering and drug network that was believed to extend along with the globe. Reportedly, the Federal Police arrested the suspects. The twelve allegedly used BTC to launder millions of dollars earned from their drug smuggling operations.
Earlier in April, the Manhattan district attorney charged a group of individuals with allegedly selling drugs and laundering millions of dollars with BTC. The defendants were allegedly operating in stores on the Dark Web that sold and shipped “hundreds of thousands” of tablets of counterfeit drugs.
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