A Bitcoin ATM located in the city of Brisbane (Australia) has been seized in part of a drug trafficking sting. The ATM was taken by the local police because of its alleged connection with a sting which brought in product worth more than 2.6 million dollars. The ATM was located in a cafe called The Roastery Cafe, which, according to the investigators, was a huge traffic hub for drugs including methamphetamines and cocaine.
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Bitcoin ATM Embroiled In Drug Trafficking Investigation
Brent Carrall, the 34-year-old co-owner of the Roastery Cafe who owns a 12.5% share of the ATM, is charged with trafficking ice and cocaine over a three-year period, as well as other members of a famous motorcycle gang known as the Bandidos.
In May, The Roastery Cafe was featured in various Australian medias after it became the first cafe in Queensland to have a Bitcoin ATM, which also sold Litecoin and Dogecoin. The raids were part of a two-year operation named Operation Juliet Wave and conducted by Queensland Police and the Crime and Corruption Commission into drug trafficking. Moreover,17 other police raids dotted throughout the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Logan and Cairns.
Taskforce Maxima Superintendent Mick Niland said:
“We’re well aware it’s attractive to criminals to use the cryptocurrencies, and what will happen now is that it will be imaged by our computer experts within the Queensland Police Service and the CCC and our investigations will progress from that”
A total of 61 people have been charged on 278 offences as part of a two-year investigation, and $2.6 million of drugs were seized, as well as property, vehicles and jet skis. Superintendent Mick Niland said computer experts were “forensically examining the machine as we speak.” In addition, CCC official Kathleen Florian said this was a “particularly difficult” investigation that rated as “one of the largest and most sophisticated” ever undertaken by the agency. However, the investigation is continuing, and we can expect more arrests in the next following days.
Bit2Bit, the operators of the seized Bitcoin ATM, has released a public statement absolving themselves of any guilt in the matter:
October 2014 — Bit2Bit’s Brisbane based Cryptocurrency ATM was seized by police on 17 October after the cafe where it was located was raided. Police allege that one of the cafe’s operators is connected to a criminal organisation, and that the premises has been used in connection with a major drugs ring.
Bit2Bit is appalled that this has happened, and that its machine has been caught up as collateral damage in the Queensland Police’s war against crime.
Bit2Bit would like to go on the record and state
The arrested individual has no relationship to Bit2Bit Holdings Pty Ltd. He is not a shareholder, either directly, or indirectly.
Rouge Coffee, and The Roastery Cafe do not own, or operate the ATM. The ATM is the sole property of Bit2Bit and is operated by us.
The ATM does not allow large volume transactions.
Bit2Bit’s staff have been instructed to cooperate fully with any legal requests they get from the police.
If criminals believe they can hide behind Bitcoin’s supposed veil of anonymity they are wrong. The Blockchain is a public document and all transactions are out there for anyone to see.
We sincerely hope that justice, and common sense, will prevail and that the ATM will soon be free, and up and running again.
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