May 19, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) awarded several federal agencies in the United States, whose joint probe led to the seizure of $22 million worth of cryptocurrency from the darkenet operators.

12-16% cashout fee

This is an annual award whereby FinCEN recognizes law enforcement agencies for using Bank Secrecy Act reporting to successfully pursue and prosecute criminal investigations. The investigation involved Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations, United States Postal Inspection Service, and United States Secret Service:

“Investigative results identified dark web vendors sending illicitly earned Bitcoin with a physical receiving address via an encrypted email to conduct this cash-out scheme. This cash-out vendor charged anywhere from 12-16 percent depending on the amount of digital currency being cashed out.”  

Everything is big in Texas

The investigators used the information they subpoenaed from a “well-known cryptocurrency exchanger.” This massive joint investigation effort:

“Concluded after the arrest of 42 individuals, the seizure of $22 million in various digital currencies, $3.5 million in cash, 120 firearms, 15 pill press machines, and a wide range of controlled substances. The United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Texas prosecuted this case.”

Cryptocurrency-related crime is a multibillion dollar industry, although only a small percentage of crypto transactions involve illicit activity.