Brazilian Drug Gang Caught Bitcoin Laundering by Federal Police
A big drug smuggling operation has been caught bitcoin laundering in Brazil. The Brazilian Federal Police has reportedly arrested 12 suspects in this case who are associated with a gang. These 12 people have conspired to launder millions of dollars in Bitcoin from Asia, Europe and Africa for smuggling drugs.
One of the major concerns with digital currency is regarding the different ways that criminals can misuse and take advantage of it. However, on the flip side, others argue that the same is true for fiat currency and criminal activity is not just limited to cryptocurrency.
This arrest was made possible with the Brazilian Federal Police’s partnership with the country’s Department of Federal Revenue. The operation was named ‘Antigoon’ and involved over 100 police officers who arrested 15 people and performed 21 search warrants for the case across the country in cities like Rio de Janerio, Sao Paulo, and Espirito Santo.
The operation took place over the span of a year and involved confiscation of 4 tonnes of cocaine from various ports in Brazil. The drugs which were originally manufactured in Bolivia and Columbia were meant to ultimately reach Asia, Europe, and Africa.
Carlos Eduardo Thome, the Federal Police Delegate said that the gang received a majority of its payments in cryptocurrency which is what led to bitcoin laundering. He elaborated that the gang used cryptocurrency because it made it easier to evade authorities by using digital instead of fiat currency. He said,
The gang received part of its payments in virtual currencies to make them difficult to track, and to avoid getting their massive and atypical money movements detected.
Unfortunately, nobody knows the exact amount of money involved in the laundering scheme. The people arrested in relation to this case include airport employees, truck drivers, and businessmen.
This news comes at a time when cryptocurrency has become very popular throughout South America for legitimate reasons. However, it is not unreasonable to expect misuse just as it would be in the case of fiat currency.
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