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Police in the Australian city of Sydney have arrested three men on suspicion of drug dealing and money laundering through cryptocurrencies.
Law enforcement agencies in Australia reported that they have joined forces with the US federal authorities to apprehend a group of criminals. The US Department of Homeland Security and the Australian Crime Commission (ACIC) took part in the investigation.
During the search, $4.7 million in cash, laptops, mobile phones and hardware wallets for storing bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies were confiscated from the detainees. In addition, they seized about five kilograms of drugs, including cocaine, heroin and methylamphetamine.
Those arrested are charged with 12 counts, including the distribution of drugs and the laundering of money obtained illegally through cryptocurrencies. One of the detainees has already appeared in court and has been denied bail. The other offender has been released on parole and will also face trial next month.
Law enforcement authorities noted that they manage to effectively fight organized crime in the state of New South Wales. However, they are concerned that they are increasingly finding a relationship between the drug trade and digital assets. In addition, cases of cryptocurrency fraud have increased since the pandemic, police said.
Recall that in 2019, the Australian police uncovered a syndicate that committed major fraud and laundered millions of dollars through cryptocurrencies. Last year, law enforcement in the Australian state of Victoria confiscated $6 million in crypto assets from drug dealers.
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