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Australian Police Seize Over USD 1 million in Crypto In Drug Bust

Australian Police Seize Over USD 1 million in Crypto In Drug Bust 101
Source: iStock/holgs

As the Australian Federal Police are developing their tech capacities, a recent drug bust of a property in Western Australia allowed officers from the Technology Crime Service to seize not only illegal substances, but also more than AUD 1.52 million (USD 1.04 million) worth of unspecified cryptocurrency on an electronic device.

“Using the latest technologies and digital forensic techniques we thoroughly investigate all possible methods of holding financial assets,” commented Detective Senior Sergeant Paul Matthews who was in charge of the bust, adding that the cryptocurrency seizure was believed to be the largest ever made by the police in West Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

A search of a property in northern Perth led to the arrest of a 27-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman who are said to be involved in a scheme involving the traffic of MDMA, or ecstasy, tablets and powder in children's toys sent from the UK to Australia.

The Australian Federal Police’s report for the 2018-2019 period shows how seizure of cryptocurrency could prove to generate major returns for the authorities, but also how the country’s police have developed their IT capabilities and accelerated their procedures to confiscate cryptocurrency from criminals.

In January 2016, a man was charged and convicted with the illegal importation of three firearms for which he paid in bitcoin (BTC). The cryptocurrency, which was then worth approximately $7,300, was seized at the time of his arrest.

“In November 2018, following protracted negotiations, the man agreed to the forfeiture of the bitcoin. By that time it had increased in value to approximately $154,000,” the report says.

The bitcoins were subsequently deposited into the Confiscated Assets Account which is managed by the country’s financial regulator Australian Financial Security Authority.

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