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Millions in Cryptocurrencies Seized in Biggest LSD Bust in European History

Published: June 30, 2018
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Source: Gizmodo

With the price boom of 2017 and the constant chatter about the blockchain revolution, it feels like people have forgotten the one thing bitcoin is proven to be good for: buying drugs. On Thursday, law enforcement gave everyone a reminder of cryptocurrencies roots when it took down an LSD ring and seized millions of dollars worth of digital cash.

statement by Europol claims that it recently worked alongside the Spanish Guardia Civil and the Austrian Federal Police to dismantle a criminal group that has been trafficking in the sale of synthetic drugs on the dark web since 2012. The operation had quite a haul—shuttering two drug labs, nabbing eight individuals, and impounding what Europol claims is a record-setting 800,000 doses of LSD.

The full statement is a bit confusing when it comes to the cryptocurrency seizure. It lists bitcoin, IOTA, and lumen tokens that were impounded, pegging their combined value at €5,675,000 ($6,623,366). But elsewhere in the report, it lists the total value of the digital currencies as €4.5 million ($5.25 million). At first, it seemed that the confusion might have come from the ever-volatile crypto exchange rates, but its impossible to say because only the number of bitcoins seized (510) is listed.

A photo of impounded items from the bust.
 
Photo: Europol

In fact, there’s quite a bit of detail missing from this report. For instance, eight suspects are said to be in custody and they’re listed as being from Spain, Austria, and France. But none of the suspects are named. It also says that two synthetic drug labs were dismantled, but when the agency described the group’s operation it listed three labs. From the statement:

The organised crime group had been operating in Spain since 2012 and imported the raw material to make the psychoactive substances from Asian countries, mainly China. The organisation installed a laboratory in Amsterdam, which served as the production unit of the synthetic drugs. From this laboratory the narcotic substances were shipped to two other laboratories in Spain (Granada and Valencia), which were directly managed by the organisation and where the drugs were packaged and distributed to the final consumer.

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