European law enforcement body, Europol has nailed a drug trafficking network which used cryptocurrencies to launder their ill-gotten wealth. In a statement released by the organization on Monday described how they arrested 11 members of the ring who laundered over €8 million through a cryptocurrency exchange in Finland.
The criminals initially tried to withdraw the money in cash but then opted to launder it using cryptocurrency when they realized cash transactions will be easy to tack. Through an unnamed crypto exchange based in Finland, the culprits converted the money to bitcoins and later to Columbian Pesos which was deposited in a Columbian bank. They weren’t so lucky as Finish Authorities were able to sniff out their details held in the crypto exchange.
Investigations which led to the arrests involved about 137 distinct persons while 174 bank accounts were inspected. The statement credited Homeland Security in the US, Guardia Civil in Spain and Law enforcement authorities in Spain for supporting the global scale investigation it called ‘Operation Tulipan Blanca’.
The EU watchdog promised to more coordinated operations like this. “Europol will continue to coordinate across the EU Member States and beyond, to effectively respond to this rising threat.” Since last year, the body has organized special courses to train law enforcement officers on investigations involving cryptocurrencies.
In the past, Europol has warned about the cybercrime threat posed by cryptocurrencies mentioning zcash and monero alongside bitcoin in its annual threat assessment report released in December.
its statement read, adding that it has implemented “specialized training courses to assist law enforcement officers in identifying the use of cryptocurrencies by organized crime networks.”