Law enforcement agencies of Venezuela have initiated an operation of search and seizure against non-licensed crypto miners. During these operations, approximately 400 plus mining machines, particularly relating to Bitcoin, have been seized and taken into custody by military personnel as well as local police. Other than seizures of mining machines and rigs, at least four individuals were arrested who were carrying out mining operations illegally without obtaining licenses.
The Crypto mining process is a legal activity in Venezuela. However, prior to carrying out any crypto mining operations, the person or company concerned is obligated to obtain licenses from concerned authorities.
Apparently, it came to the knowledge of the authorities that there was a large number of crypto miners and mining facilities that are illegal. They were illegal because the Venezuelan authorities had noticed that they were carrying out mining activities without permission. According to Venezuelan law, practice, and procedure, every miner or mining company is required to obtain licenses and permits. In the absence of such licenses and permits, the miners, as well as the mining facility, are treated as an “illegal activity”. Under the law, there are consequences of such “illegal activities” which include imposing fines, seizure of equipment, and imprisonment.
Against this illegal mining activity, the Venezuelan Government decided to carry out a search and seizure operation. For the purposes of carrying out this operation, assistance from local law enforcement agencies as well as the military was sought.
Once the authorization was handed over to the agencies, a full-fledged search, and seizure operation initiated at the national level. During the first phase of operations, the agencies have reportedly seized 400 plus mining rigs. The majority of these mining rigs were used to mine Bitcoin – the world’s most valued digital asset.
Approximately 332 mining rigs out of 400 were confiscated from the Portuguese border at the Venezuelan check post. Apparently, a truck was carrying these mining rigs which were supposed to be shipped to the destination city in Venezuela. The person who was driving the truck was immediately taken into custody along with the seized goods.
While in Barinas, Venezuela, the military personnel raided a residential house on the pretext that an illegal mining facility was active there. When military personnel raided the site, there were three persons operating the mining rigs. From them, the military seized approximately 72 mining rigs which were secretly kept in the residential house. The three persons were then apprehended by the military and handed over to the local police for investigation.
Later on, the police confirm that they have been delivered to the persons who were arrested by the military along with the seized goods. The police also noticed that the persons were part of a crypto crime organization. In addition, they did not have any license to conduct any mining activities albeit mining is banned in residential areas.