Australian police have pulled off the country’s biggest ever Bitcoin seizure by leveraging Silk Road data collected by the FBI.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported Friday that police confiscated nearly AU$8.5 million ($6.07 million) worth of Bitcoin after raiding addresses across the southern state of Victoria this week.
The seizure was part of a wider operation that yielded $13 million in assets, including houses, cars, and drugs. Police arrested two others over the dodgy Bitcoin.
MDMA, magic mushrooms, cannabis, and prescription meds were reportedly included in the drug hail, as well as miscellaneous white powder and crystals.
Detectives were said to have identified the illicit funds after examining blockchain records. They’re now looking into the pair’s Silk Road activity to determine how they built their vast fortune.
American feds shuttered Silk Road — then the world’s leading dark web marketplace — way back in 2013. The FBI passed on the information that led to the raids.
Speaking about the operation, Victorian police commander Mick Frewen warned criminals that Bitcoin’s perceived anonymity doesn’t guarantee they’ll avoid authorities.
“Cryptocurrency is available to be seen on the blockchain, which is a publicly available ledger,” said Frewen (via Sydney Morning Herald).
Silk Road’s influence persists
Victoria’s Bitcoin detectives are no strangers to big crypto scores, with successful seizures stretching as far back as the Silk Road’s heyday.
In the lead-up to its disruption, the Aussie fuzz caught a Silk Road drug trafficker with 24,518 BTC. That haul was worth around half a million at the time. Today, it would fetch closer to $1.2 billion.
They were eventually sentenced to 11 years in prison.
More recently, US authorities last year confiscated more than 69,000 BTC ($3.3 billion) stolen from the site’s founder Ross Ulbricht.
Ulbricht is now serving a double life sentence with no opportunity for parole.
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