Serial Brazilian thieves busted after crypto extortion

Seven people have been arrested following a robbery that saw a Brazilian businessman lose R$1.2 million ($237,000) worth of crypto and his family held hostage at gunpoint for three hours.

According to the Santa Catarina Civil Police, the group entered the victims’ home in Praia Brava in January and used threats of violence against family members and employees to extort crypto, jewelry, electronics, and cash. 

In response, authorities launched an investigation that saw temporary arrest warrants issued for eight suspects. During the so-called ‘blockchain operation,’ police tracked down the stolen crypto, following transfers to numerous wallets in Argentina and Peru, and ultimately seizing R$1.2 million worth of funds.

Read more: Brazil gang caught laundering illegal gold with crypto

Brazilian authorities, working with Interpol, arrested two residents of Buenos Aires last week and one from Ituporanga D’Ajuda the following day. Two members of the group had previously been arrested as part of ‘Operation X,’ for their alleged part in a bank robbery

Another suspect had also been arrested for a different robbery while the seventh was arrested at his home in Balneário Camboriú. The eighth accused member is still on the run.  

All arrested individuals are currently in jail and stand accused of “qualified robbery and qualified extortion.” The police inquiry will reportedly be finished within 30 days.  

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