Russia makes arrests in smuggling operation, seizes BTC

It is a busy time for law enforcement officials in Russia, especially related to crypto. Not only did federal customs officials stop a smuggling ring that was attempting to bring in BTC mining hardware and crypto miners, but they also seized 2500 miners for failing to pay import fees.

In July, authorities seized 2000 illegally imported Bitmain ASIC cryptocurrency miners from a mining operation in Russia. According to law enforcement officials, the founder of the mining firm, Alexander Shashkov, explained that customs agents raided his Intelion Mining offices in two different Russian cities.

The arrest was made because a number of the cryptocurrency miners were brought into the country illegally, where the proper paperwork was not filled out. Officials explained that they seized the hardware after ownership was unable to provide the proper documentation. Intelion Mining has been given special authorization to run a mining operation, but not all of the miners are owned by the company. Several are owned by individuals, but they are still required to have the proper documentation to operate.

On October 1, a person was apprehended after trying to sneak across the border between Mongolia and Russia. The individual was attempting to smuggle mining devices that were connected to microcircuits. As with the mining operation, the individual was unable to provide the proper documentation and so he and the equipment were taken into custody.

According to one report, the individual had four mining machines. Apparently, the man was looking to bring the devices into Russia, where he would then send them back to Mongolia. Currently, the Chinese government has been cracking down on crypto mining operations in Mongolia, which may have led to the incident.

While Russia has restricted some aspects of crypto mining, the Chinese government has taken an aggressive approach to shutting down these operations altogether. Even though Inner Mongolia is an autonomous region, five departments within the government have declared that they would be instituting guidelines that would ultimately lead to the shutting down of these operations.

In China, cryptocurrencies are seen as a “pseudo financial” instrument, and as such are viewed as something that has no value. This has led to several mining operations being shut down in China as well.

It is likely that these new guidelines led the individual to try to flee to Russia. Why he was sending the equipment back to Mongolia is a puzzling portion of the story. Something that may be revealed as the case against him unfolds.

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.