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Turkey’s largest crypto mining traffickers bust culminated in the discovery of $600,000 of illicit Bitcoin ASIC miners and the arrest of four suspects.
Turkish customs agents took down an illicit smuggling activity in what is claimed to be the country’s largest bust in illegal Bitcoin (BTC) mining machinery.
Following a tip, Turkey’s Customs Protection anti-smuggling and intelligence teams raided a warehouse in Karabalar, zmir, earlier this week, where they discovered 501 ASIC Bitcoin mining rigs in closed cardboard crates.
Customs enforcement reported the estimated value of the seized equipment at 5 million Turkish liras, or $600,000. Four suspects were detained as part of the investigation. Reports claim that law enforcement is carrying out another active operation in İstanbul, the biggest city and a major customs checkpoint in Turkey.
ASICs, or Application-Specific Integrated Circuits, are the most common way to mine Bitcoin, but they are also known for their high energy consumption, which has led Elon Musk to backtrack on his decision to allow Bitcoin payments for Tesla vehicles.
Turkey, once known as a crypto-friendly country, has recently increased its surveillance of cryptocurrency frauds and transactions. Last month, the Turkish crypto exchange Thodex ceased operations with over $150 million lost, preventing thousands of customers from accessing their assets.
Shortly after Turkish police apprehended 62 suspects in the Thodex case, another local exchange, Vebitcoin, went offline in the same way.
Recently, Turkish Treasury and Finance Minister Lütfi Elvan reported that the Financial Crimes Investigation Board, or MASAK, now has full power to inspect and monitor cryptocurrency exchanges. As a deterrent to bribery and illicit money laundering, any crypto exchange with a presence in Turkey is now required to notify MASAK of any crypto transactions worth more than 10,000 Turkish liras ($1,200).
Local blockchain and cryptocurrency experts believe that a strict regulatory mechanism is needed in Turkey to deter fraud in the ecosystem.