India is one of those countries warming up to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. Unfortunately, this is not always a positive trend. A lot of people use Bitcoin for legitimate reasons, but there is an increase in drug trafficking. The Indian Narcotics Control Bureau seized 500 Bitcoin during a drug investigation earlier this week.
The deep web is a significant threat regarding drug and weapon trafficking. These underground marketplaces make it easier for criminals to buy and sell their goods and services online. In India, drug trafficking seems to be the most popular trend on the darknet, and Bitcoin payments play a significant role in the process.
NCB Monitors Bitcoin Activity Among Drug Traffickers
Although many people assume Bitcoin is anonymous, that is far from the case. Similarly to other forms of money, Bitcoin payments create a digital trail of breadcrumbs. In most cases, this will help law enforcement agencies to identify the deep web vendors themselves. In fact, this has lead to 500 BTC being seized by the Narcotics Control Bureau during an ongoing drug trafficking investigation.
It is the first time Bitcoins are being seized by the NCB during an investigation. Three syndicates are currently under investigation for drug trafficking. One of these syndicates operates out of western India and is actively using Bitcoin transactions. Seizing BTC in India, however, requires legal approval to do so. The NCB is working on this aspect, and they are using the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act as legal grounds for this action.
Agency sources told Indian Express the following:
“While criminal probe agencies have seized a variety of assets like cash and immovable assets in their respective investigations all these years, Bitcoins have never been frozen as part of the tainted assets seizure. Bitcoin is equivalent to about Rs 1 crore in the Indian currency. The NCB is moving in that direction.”
Further details regarding this case are difficult to come by at this stage. The NCB did not reveal much more information, other than the fact the information is being vetted by the agency’s headquarters. While it is known this case relates to drug trafficking, no specific substances or quantities were made public at this time.
Source: Indian Express
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