The first nationwide undercover operation to detain traffickers of the arms and drugs in the darknet was held in the United States. The operation involved the he U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the U.S. Secret Service (USSS), and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Special agents seized about 2,000 bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies worth $22 million from the vendors of darknet, according to the website of the US Department of Justice.
Representatives of the authorities detained 35 suspects in the weapons and drugs trade during a secret operation that lasted a year. On the darknet websites, such as Silk Road 2, AlphaBay, and Hansa, special agents offered to exchange cryptocurrency for dollars allegedly for money laundering. As a result, they went to the traders of illegal goods.
“Criminals who think that they are safe on the Darknet are wrong,” said Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. “We can expose their networks, and we are determined to bring them to justice. Today, we arrested more than 35 alleged Darknet vendors. We seized their weapons, their drugs, and $23.6 million of their ill-gotten gains. This nationwide enforcement effort will reduce the supply of deadly drugs like fentanyl that are killing an unprecedented number of Americans.”
Among the detainees are residents of the states of New York, Maryland, Ohio, California, Vermont, and others. Searches and operations have already taken place in more than 50 federal districts, but the operation is still ongoing. The police confiscated weapons, including a grenade launcher, drugs, $3.6 million in bills and gold bars, 2000 bitcoins, and other cryptocurrencies worth more than $ 20 million, seized from mining farms.
In addition, today US Senate conducted hearings about another possible threat from cryptocurrencies. The hearings were held in the Senate Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism. According to one of the experts who appeared before the senators, virtual currencies were "tailor-made" to influence the US electoral system.
Director of the analytical company DarkTower Scott Dueweke believes that the anonymity of digital currencies is harmful to the election. He explained that the game is under the cover of anonymity and its purpose is to circumvent the financial rules during the elections:
"They exchange one form of money for another … fiat currency in and fiat currency out, but in between you're going to have these multiple layers of cryptocurrency that are going to be impossible to track," Dueweke added.
There was also noted the possibility of using cryptocurrencies by foreign organizations when donating to political parties or politicians at the hearings. Foreign states can buy political advertising and sacrifice certain parties in their attempts to influence elections due to the anonymity of digital assets. Senators believe that legislation should provide more stringent identification rules for individuals who donate funds for political campaigns.
By Ekaterina Ulyanova