Australia Security Authorities Seize Over $1M Worth of Crypto in Drug Probe

In a combined effort by various security authorities in Australia, a record-breaking AUD1.5 million ($1 million) worth of cryptocurrency was seized in a drug bust.    

The Australian Border Force (ABF) reported today that they found illicit substances in the form of 27.5g of MDMA tablets and powder at the international mail Perth Gateway Facility on October 31, 2019, which was concealed in children’s toy painting kits.

During the investigation, the ABF discovered that the package was sent from the United Kingdom and was destined for the Perth metropolitan area, which prompted the ABF to alert the Australian Federal Police and Western Australia (WA) Police Force about the development.

As reported, the probe led the officials to the residence of a 27-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman, who was immediately arrested, after the officials found cannabis-related items in their apartment.

Notably, other items were discovered during the raid, including “an electronic device” containing AUD1.5 million ($1 million) worth of cryptocurrency. 

Commenting on the development, Detective Senior Sergeant Paul Matthews, Officer in Charge of the WA Police Drug and Firearm Squad, stated that the seizure of the cryptocurrency is the highest amount to be confiscated in a single drug-related investigation by the WA police. 

He added that the recent development indicates that security operatives in the country should focus more attention on the digital environment, as he believes more criminals could hide funds gotten from other illicit activities using cryptos. 

“[…] Using the latest technologies and digital forensic techniques, we thoroughly investigate all possible methods of holding financial assets, and will target all forms of wealth that may be derived from the illicit drug trade,” Matthews added. 

A court case has been filed and the suspects were reportedly denied bail on two occasions – November 7 and 9, respectively, with the trial scheduled to be heard at the Joondalup Magistrates Court today. 

In addition, the seized cryptocurrency was “frozen” by the authorities, “pending the outcome of the court process.”

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