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When it comes to fentanyl trade, the feds target cryptocurrency wallets


In the ongoing dance between the feds and those dabbling in the dark art of fentanyl trafficking, the United States Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is certainly stepping on some toes. The feds’ size 12s have landed on a collection of cryptocurrency wallets that they claim have ties to the illegal fentanyl trade — primarily orchestrated out of China.

Crypto's Dark Connection: Tainted by Fentanyl

Drug traffickers, many of whom are based in China, have been utilizing various cryptocurrencies to grease the wheels of their less-than-savory operations. The feds, with their eagle eyes, have honed in on six entities and their associated digital wallet addresses, bestowing upon them the dubious distinction of being on the specially designated nationals (SDN) list. That's not a list you want to be on, by the way. Among those entities, one bears a name: Valerian Labs.

It's like a plot right out of a crime novel. These digital addresses, now ensnared in the web of federal attention, have collectively soaked up nearly $3.8 million worth of cryptocurrency. Sounds like a pretty penny, right? But, say the feds, this mountain of digital cash likely represents the means to enable the potential trafficking of copious amounts of drugs — fentanyl, in particular. And we're talking about a scale that extends far beyond the borders of the United States, much to the chagrin of US law enforcement.

The Crypto Trail: Finding the Guilty Parties

The feds’ watchdogs are nothing if not thorough. Seventeen wallet addresses were unearthed in OFAC's latest sweep. And, the digital currencies involved weren't just any run-of-the-mill coins; we're talking about big players like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Even Tron managed to sneak its way into the mix. Not to mention, most of the shadier transactions in Ethereum and Tron were carried out with the help of stablecoins — cryptocurrencies with values tethered to good old-fashioned fiat currencies. So, every time you're trading with stablecoins, just remember to, figuratively, wash your hands.

How do Chinese companies sell fentanyl ingredients?

By using "cryptocurrency transactions to conceal their identities & the location & movement of their funds", per @TheJusticeDept.

I have a bipartisan bill to crack down on crypto funding crimes.https://t.co/VcpPLWZfmm

— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) October 5, 2023

The world of crypto fentanyl trafficking is, thank the stars, seemingly small. The wallets of these five shady individuals all share a cozy little home on a centralized crypto exchange. They each received hundreds of thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency. While the name of the exchange is conveniently omitted, it's clear that it played host to some dubious dealings. After all, it's not every day you witness a slew of consistent payments flowing from personal wallets and other big-name exchanges. And, such consistency can only mean one thing: the sale of very specific goods. In this case, the culprit is none other than the dreaded fentanyl and its precursor chemicals. Can you tell we’re fans of true crime drama here at Finance Magnates?

The Rising Tide of Crypto-based Fentanyl Sales

The global stage has witnessed a surge in crypto-fueled fentanyl transactions. Reports indicate that since 2018, China-based fentanyl vendors have raked in an impressive $37.8 million in cryptocurrency, a staggering sum by any measure.

OFAC has been on the prowl, sniffing out Bitcoin addresses linked to such notorious suppliers. But, this time around, they've expanded their net, adding Tron to the mix. In a separate incident, OFAC even cracked down on an Ethereum address associated with a member of a Mexican money laundering network. They're making it clear: nobody's beyond their reach.

So, remember, the feds are still watching, and the crypto underworld continues to do shady things. The murky relationship between cryptocurrency and organized crime persists. It's a reminder that, while in the past, authorities have been confident crypto crime is on the decline, the problem runs deeper than we may care to admit, and, clearly, using crypto for money laundering is still a thing.

In the ongoing dance between the feds and those dabbling in the dark art of fentanyl trafficking, the United States Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is certainly stepping on some toes. The feds’ size 12s have landed on a collection of cryptocurrency wallets that they claim have ties to the illegal fentanyl trade — primarily orchestrated out of China.

Crypto's Dark Connection: Tainted by Fentanyl

Drug traffickers, many of whom are based in China, have been utilizing various cryptocurrencies to grease the wheels of their less-than-savory operations. The feds, with their eagle eyes, have honed in on six entities and their associated digital wallet addresses, bestowing upon them the dubious distinction of being on the specially designated nationals (SDN) list. That's not a list you want to be on, by the way. Among those entities, one bears a name: Valerian Labs.

It's like a plot right out of a crime novel. These digital addresses, now ensnared in the web of federal attention, have collectively soaked up nearly $3.8 million worth of cryptocurrency. Sounds like a pretty penny, right? But, say the feds, this mountain of digital cash likely represents the means to enable the potential trafficking of copious amounts of drugs — fentanyl, in particular. And we're talking about a scale that extends far beyond the borders of the United States, much to the chagrin of US law enforcement.

The Crypto Trail: Finding the Guilty Parties

The feds’ watchdogs are nothing if not thorough. Seventeen wallet addresses were unearthed in OFAC's latest sweep. And, the digital currencies involved weren't just any run-of-the-mill coins; we're talking about big players like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Even Tron managed to sneak its way into the mix. Not to mention, most of the shadier transactions in Ethereum and Tron were carried out with the help of stablecoins — cryptocurrencies with values tethered to good old-fashioned fiat currencies. So, every time you're trading with stablecoins, just remember to, figuratively, wash your hands.

How do Chinese companies sell fentanyl ingredients?

By using "cryptocurrency transactions to conceal their identities & the location & movement of their funds", per @TheJusticeDept.

I have a bipartisan bill to crack down on crypto funding crimes.https://t.co/VcpPLWZfmm

— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) October 5, 2023

The world of crypto fentanyl trafficking is, thank the stars, seemingly small. The wallets of these five shady individuals all share a cozy little home on a centralized crypto exchange. They each received hundreds of thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency. While the name of the exchange is conveniently omitted, it's clear that it played host to some dubious dealings. After all, it's not every day you witness a slew of consistent payments flowing from personal wallets and other big-name exchanges. And, such consistency can only mean one thing: the sale of very specific goods. In this case, the culprit is none other than the dreaded fentanyl and its precursor chemicals. Can you tell we’re fans of true crime drama here at Finance Magnates?

The Rising Tide of Crypto-based Fentanyl Sales

The global stage has witnessed a surge in crypto-fueled fentanyl transactions. Reports indicate that since 2018, China-based fentanyl vendors have raked in an impressive $37.8 million in cryptocurrency, a staggering sum by any measure.

OFAC has been on the prowl, sniffing out Bitcoin addresses linked to such notorious suppliers. But, this time around, they've expanded their net, adding Tron to the mix. In a separate incident, OFAC even cracked down on an Ethereum address associated with a member of a Mexican money laundering network. They're making it clear: nobody's beyond their reach.

So, remember, the feds are still watching, and the crypto underworld continues to do shady things. The murky relationship between cryptocurrency and organized crime persists. It's a reminder that, while in the past, authorities have been confident crypto crime is on the decline, the problem runs deeper than we may care to admit, and, clearly, using crypto for money laundering is still a thing.

Sources


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