A raid by Chilean enforcement officers in the country’s capital city led to the discovery of ketamine and marijuana. Besides, the police stamped on 19 Bitcoin mining machines in a house located in Santiago city.
The bust realized during a routine raid led to an unimagined cyber twist when Chile investigative officers (PDI) discovered that the suspects were both trafficking illicit substances and operating a full-blown mining operations.
Anti-Narcotics Brigade Discover Bitcoin Mining
The events were captured in an El Mostrador September 6 publication that the country’s investigators stumbled upon the cyber activities. The publication indicated that the Anti-Narcotics Brigade operating in the Southern Area of the Metropolitan Region raided the property. The officers were fortunate to discover the illicit activities in La Cisterna’s neighborhood.
The local media outlet indicated that the incident was the third operation to target the trafficking group. The officers’ report listed 36 kilograms of marijuana, ketamine 43 grams and ecstasy pills’ printing press. The officers discovered an elaborate computer set up illustrating that the Chilean gang was executing Bitcoin mining.
The police documented the existence of interconnected machines that were plugged into an apparent series. The report illustrated the property’s emission of large heat amounts and noise.
The local media reported that the investigators sought assistance from the Cybercrime Brigade. The second unit confirmed the computer setup hosted Bitcoin mining activities.
Bitcoin Mining Offers Exit for Illicit Proceeds
The Anti-Narcotics Brigade boss, Eduardo Gatica, expressed shock at the unprecedented event. He informed El Mostrador that the discovery marked the initial incident where drug trafficking directly involved cryptocurrency mining.
Bitcoin mining has progressively become a critical element of today’s crypto ecosystem. Besides commanding the largest token by market capitalization of $519.5 billion as per Coin Gecko, Bitcoin attracts huge investment. Key among the investments is Bitcoin mining activities.
The Chilean Cybercrime Brigade reported that crypto mining features specialized equipment, including Antminer and application-specific integrated circuit miners (ASIC). The report indicated that the ASICs drew huge energy as they featured in the global competition to discover the random number.
Bitcoin mining involves discovering the number every ten minutes, allowing the addition of the subsequent transactions block to the Bitcoin blockchain. The report acknowledged that Bitcoin miners are receiving 6.25 BTC for every block added, with each fetching $26650.
Secrecy in Bitcoin Mining Linked to Drug Trafficking
The El Mostrador publication indicated that the authorities seized 19 machines, where only 10 were involved in Bitcoin mining. The head of the Cyber Crime Unit in Santiago, Luis Orellana, explained that only ten were running since the local electrical grid can hardly support all 19 machines when mining simultaneously.
The Metropolitan Region authorities linked the sophisticated mining to money laundering. While the authorities admitted that crypto mining is not illicit, they suggested that the now-detained criminals acquired the mining equipment from the proceeds of drug trafficking. The officers added the gang would funnel the proceeds towards the computing operation. Doing so would allow a more straightforward swap of Chilean pesos for Bitcoin.
The Metropolitan Region prosecutor responsible for organized crime, Carlos Yáñez Díaz, identified it as a novel method. El Mostrador acknowledged that this marks the second encounter where the authorities tumbled on cryptocurrency linked to criminality.
The publication cited the existence of a ruthless Tren de Aragua unit involved in an organized crime syndicate in Northern Chile’s region. The authorities seized 4 billion pesos, translating to $4.5 million in digital assets.