In a recent major operation against drug dealers, the FBI made over 61 arrests. The Operation SaboTor led to the seizure of around $4.5 million Worth of cryptocurrencies, cash, weapons, and drugs.
The operation was carried out between January 11 and March 12, 2019 in collaboration with the DEA, Europol, and members of a other agencies. They were part of a team called the Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement (J-CODE), and the operation itself was named after the privacy-focused web browser Tor, which played a major role in facilitating the criminal suspects’ darknet-based drug dealing activities.
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At this point in time, the type of cryptocurrencies that were seized hasn’t been revealed. In addition to Bitcoin, privacy coin Monero (XMR) tends to be particularly popular for illicit activities due to its focus on anonymity. Along with the crypto, another $2.48 million in cash was seized, as well as 300kg of drugs and 51 firearms.
In the words of the FBI Director Christopher Wray: “Criminals have always adopted innovations and new technologies to achieve their illicit goals, and it’s our job to adapt and remain ahead of the threat. Operation SaboTor demonstrates not only the strength of our partnerships across the U.S. government and abroad but how we’re able to capitalize on those partnerships to disrupt criminal activity, even when they try to hide it on the Darknet”.
The wanton utilisation of digital currencies in perpetuating illicit activities across the globe is a major disadvantage of the Distributed Ledger Technology. The recent clampdown on digital assets by the US SEC and increased surveillance on the crypto industry by FBI and other agencies is a welcomed development in curbing the scale of use of digital assets in perpetuating illegal activities.
Do you think the FBI and other agencies will go a long way in limiting the use of crypocurrencies for illegal purposes despite the decentralized nature of blockchain? Leave a comment below.