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Five United States enforcement agencies have come together to create a joint task force to tackle crimes related to digital currencies and the dark web.
The agencies have been working together for a number of years but have now made the cooperation official with the announcement made on the 20th of June.
A New Anti-Crime Task Force
The joint task force called the Darknet Marketplace and Digital Currency Crimes Task Force, was announced on the 20th of June. Representatives from the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Arizona, The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Office for the United States Attorneys, and the Postal Inspection Service signed the memorandum of understanding to formally create the new joint task force.
“On the 15th of June, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Arizona Special Agent in Charge Scott Brown, U.S. Attorney Gary M. Restaino, IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Al Childress, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Cheri Oz, and U.S. Postal Inspection Service acting Inspector in Charge Greg Torbenson signed a memorandum of understanding memorializing the Darknet Marketplace and Digital Currency Crimes Task Force.”
Despite the creation of the new task force, it is well known that all agencies involved have been cooperating and working together on a number of cases since 2017.
“Since 2017, these federal partners have focused on darknet drug vendors and cryptocurrency-enabled crimes. Ever-evolving technology has allowed drug traffickers and other criminal actors to expand into the digital world and use the darknet to engage in their illegal activity.”
The newly created joint task force will work on the investigation of cryptocurrency-related and enabled crimes such as money laundering, drug trafficking, theft of personal information, and child exploitation. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Arizona Special Agent in Charge Scott Brown stated,
“HSI and our partners have been working at the forefront of combating criminal activities facilitated through the use of cryptocurrency on dark web marketplaces and other anonymous platforms. This task force will have impactful repercussions on those criminal operators who attempt to grow their businesses and launder the illicit proceeds through advancing technology. HSI looks forward to growing in this investigative space alongside our law enforcement partners.”
Specialized Law Enforcement Units
The past year has seen law enforcement agencies worldwide create specialized units for crypto-related enforcement action. In late 2022, Interpol created a crypto crimes unit to deal with cryptocurrency-related crimes. Local police in several Canadian cities have also started forming local task forces. Keeping this in mind, the newly created Darknet Marketplace and Digital Currency Crimes Task Force will have a global reach, thanks to Homeland Security Investigations having 93 overseas locations spread across 56 countries. Homeland Security Investigations, through its investigations last year, seized nearly $4 billion worth of cryptocurrency.
“Working with businesses and industries that manage the very financial systems terrorists and criminal organizations seek to exploit. Homeland Security Investigations seized nearly $4 BILLION in cryptocurrency from illicit activities last year.”
Within the United States of America, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) created a Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit. The unit has been designated to work with the Justice Department’s National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team. The Securities and Exchange Commission has also doubled its Cyber Unit.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.