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A concealment of drugs hidden in a child's toy, destined for Perth, has led to the unexpected seizure of over $1 million in cryptocurrency.
A total of 27.5g in illegal MDMA tablets and the same weight again in MDMA powder was hidden in a child's toy painting kit. Australian Border Force officers discovered the drugs in a package sent from the United Kingdom and intended to reach Perth, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.*
Given the ammunition for a criminal investigation, Australian law enforcement then raided the home of a 27-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman in Marangaroo, a suburb in Perth.*
Police officers on the scene not only found items used to sell cannabis, but also an electronic device with access to a wallet containing $1,524,102 in cryptocurrency.
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According to the publication, Detective Senior Sergeant Paul Matthews said the cryptocurrency seizure is likely the "highest value seizure of its kind" made by Western Australia police.*
Cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Ripple (XRP) are thriving, active assets that are legitimately bought and traded on a daily basis. However, the relative anonymity of virtual coins has also led to some forms being used for criminal activity.*
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Ransomware operators demand payment in cryptocurrency sent to wallets they control; the trade of illegal substances, weapons, and data on the Dark Web are made in virtual coins, and seemingly legitimate cryptocurrency exchanges may also perform exit scams, vanishing with user funds never to be seen again.*
Criminal proceeds generated in cryptocurrency may also end up laundered through online services, often known as "washing" businesses. Bestmixer, for example, was a washer that law enforcement estimates 'cleaned' over $200 million in cryptocurrency during its lifetime. Bestmixer.io was seized and closed down by European police in May after roughly a year of operation.*
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The pair have been charged with drug offenses and assets have been frozen until the court case is resolved. Both the 27 and 25-year-olds will appear in court next week.*
In related news, South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Upbit told customers last week that $48.5 million in Ethereum (ETH) had been stolen from the firm. Deposit and withdrawal services were immediately suspended and are not expected to resume for several weeks. In the meantime, users have been assured that they will not foot the bill.*
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