July 21, 2024
Chilean Authorities Uncover Unprecedented Link Between Drug Trafficking and Bitcoin Mining
Bitcoin News

Chilean Authorities Uncover Unprecedented Link Between Drug Trafficking and Bitcoin Mining

When Chile’s investigative police unit (PDI) discovered that the perpetrators were not only trafficking illegal drugs but also operating a large-scale Bitcoin mining business, a regular drug bust took an unexpected online turn.

The Anti-Narcotics Brigade for Santiago’s Metropolitan Region Southern Area reportedly invaded a property on September 6 in the city’s La Cisterna district, according to local media site El Mostrador. In the third operation targeting the organization, 36 kilos of marijuana, an ecstasy pill printer, 43 grams of ketamine, and a bizarre computer setup were found and seized by law authorities, according to the report.

In one of the property’s rooms, according to the police, they discovered many linked and plugged-in devices that were producing a lot of heat and noise. The Cybercrime Brigade was contacted by the authorities on the scene, who verified that it was a Bitcoin mining activity.

“This is an unprecedented event,” Eduardo Gatica, head of the Anti-Narcotics Brigade, stated to El Mostrador. “This is the first time drug trafficking has been linked so directly to cryptocurrency mining.”

A crucial part of the crypto network is Bitcoin mining. ASICs, or specialized computers, use a variety of power sources to compete globally to find a certain random number. One computer discovers the number and is permitted to upload the most recent block of transactions to the Bitcoin blockchain once every 10 minutes, on average.

As of this writing, a Bitcoin miner receives 6.25 BTC, or around $27,210, for each block they add to the chain.

El Mostrador claims that although only ten of the mining devices were operational, authorities seized 19.

According to Luis Orellana, Chief of Santiago’s Cyber Crime Unit, only some of the machines were operating because the regional electrical infrastructure could not sustain all 19 devices mining simultaneously.

Although they underlined that cryptocurrency mining is not a prohibited activity, authorities in the Metropolitan Region assume the advanced mining setup was used for money laundering. According to police, the now-arrested criminals bought machines with money from their drug trafficking, transferred it to their computing business, and then exchanged Chilean pesos for Bitcoin.

Prosecutor Carlos Yáez Dáz of the Metropolitan Region’s High Complexity and Organized Crime Office referred to the link between the illegal activities and Bitcoin mining as “a novel” strategy.

According to El Mostrador, this is not the first time that officials have encountered cryptocurrency and criminal activity in the nation. The Tren de Aragua, a vicious organized crime group that primarily operates in northern Chile, was apprehended with 4 billion pesos (approximately $4.5 million) in digital assets.

Image: Wallpapers.com

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