Several US law enforcement agencies establish a digital currency anti-crime task group

By: Michael Wilson

Several US law enforcement agencies establish a digital currency anti-crime task group

June 21, 2023 12:43 AM

The agencies have been collaborating for years, but their collaboration is now official, as they seek to expand their operations.


On June 20th, a collection of law enforcement agencies from around the United States announced they will be working together to combat crimes leveraging the darknet and digital currency. This new group will go→ after "cryptocurrency-enabled crimes" like narcotics smuggling, money laundering, identity theft, and child exploitation.


Last week, officials from HSI Arizona, the US Attorney's Office, IRS Criminal Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Postal Inspection Service signed an MOU establishing the new task force.


Since 2017, when they began coordinating their efforts, the agencies have tracked the meteoric surge in bitcoin usage. According to a press release:


"The goal of the Darknet Marketplace and Digital Currency Crimes Task Force is to disrupt and dismantle criminal organizations that take advantage of the dark web's anonymity or that utilize digital currency to fund their illegal endeavors."


Worldwide, law enforcement has been developing specialist teams for crypto-related enforcement. Late last year, Interpol established a crypto crime team. Local task groups have been formed by police in Canadian cities. Because the HSI has 93 foreign outposts in 56 countries, the new task force will have an international reach.

 


In the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation established→ a Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit in February, which will collaborate with the Justice Department's National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team. Last year, the Securities and Exchange Commission substantially increased the size of its Cyber Unit.


In terms of resources, law enforcement is well-equipped. According to Chainalysis, over 4,000 crypto whales have fraudulently gotten funds, and crypto phishing scams climbed by 40% that year. There is, however, an indication that law enforcement operations are paying off.

This is the initial content of the editor