Spanish, Austrian Investigators Catch Gang Using Crypto For Drug Trafficking

For years, the team of the Spanish Civil Guard, Europol, and the Austrian Federal Police have been trying to catch a criminal gang that was producing and distributing “new psychoactive substances” (NPS). Incidentally, this gang was using cryptocurrencies for carrying out the trade. A few days ago, the team managed to identify and capture the members of the gang.

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Criminal gang network spread across more than 100 countries

The teamwork involved a high level of planning, secrecy as well as coordination to avoid any suspicion as such gangs disappear very quickly if they get the slightest hint of any suspicion against them. As per the official information, they started the DRYER operation in 2015 when they first intercepted one package in Bavaria containing a good amount of drugs. It came from an Ogijares PO box, a place in Granada, Spain. Interestingly, these criminals were highly organized and had their network spread across more than 100 countries all over the world.

The official post says that the researchers found the significant movement of postal envelopes and parcels that were sent from the above PO Box to different countries, each containing narcotic substances. The packaging was camouflaged under the guise of products from recognized brands including anti-humidity products and cement additives. Marketing of such products is legal and hence the illegal transactions were never caught.

Websites of criminals used virtual payment platforms                         

The websites of the criminals accepted payments through virtual payment platforms including Payward, Payvision, and Paypal that were directly deposited into their bank accounts. Now, these bank accounts were linked to the organization via cryptocurrency transfers, usually using Bitcoin (BTC-USD). The profit thus earned was converted into cash using the Hawala system.

Crimes employing the use of cryptocurrency are on the rise. In response to this, the U.S. House of Representative has passed a bill that allows the Comptroller General of the country to suggest laws regarding further regulation. This is aimed to help to curb sex and drug trafficking using cryptocurrencies. Examinations and investigations have revealed that both these types of crimes have been facilitated using virtual currency as a mode of payment.

According to Rep. Juan Vargas, the bill titled,” Fight Illicit Networks and Detect (FIND) Traffic Act of 2018 will help the Congress develop ways and regulations for preventing the use of virtual currencies for drug sales and trafficking of sex.

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