They follow the trails of bitcoin to find drug traffickers

In order to prevent synthetic drugs from entering the United States, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) tracks cryptocurrency operations used by Mexican cartels.

According to two US officials involved in the strategy, the country strengthened its security actions.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told NBC News that the agency “seeks to hold people accountable, seize their property, and also intercept and disrupt their financial flow.

The federal official explained that the administration of President Joe Biden is negotiating with China to obtain its cooperation to stop the production of substances used in the manufacture of drugs.

Crypto transactions related to illicit activities reached a record $20 billion in 2022, Chainalysis reported last January.

In a report produced last May, the analytics firm indicated that people involved in illegal transactions related to drug trafficking generally use cryptocurrencies due to their “near-instantaneous, cross-border, and pseudonymous characteristics.”

The firm said it had identified dozens of cryptocurrency wallet addresses that have similar activity patterns to four locations already identified by authorities as belonging to Chinese chemical stores.

Together, these addresses have received more than $37.8 million in cryptocurrency since 2018, Chainalysis explained.

He added that the actual total volume of these is probably much higher.

Given this scenario, international agencies warned since last year about the use of electronic currency for crimes related to drug trafficking.

The Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel (CJNG) and the Pacífico Cartel (Sinaloa) have ventured into electronic commerce to launder money through bitcoin, with which they have been able to launder nearly 25 billion dollars a year in Mexico.

The report of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), which is presented in national territory in coordination with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), indicated that smaller and smaller groups resort to purchases bitcoin online to avoid money laundering controls.

According to the document, in order not to attract the attention of the banks, criminal organizations do not exceed 7,500 dollars per operation.

Criminals often divide the money into small amounts that they deposit in various bank accounts, a technique known in English as smurfing (atomization),” the report detailed.

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