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Chinese police: Crypto and ‘overseas messaging apps’ used in drug trafficking

Chinese police: Crypto and ‘overseas messaging apps’ used in drug trafficking

After dismantling a cross-province drug trafficking gang operating in China, the police in Shanghai have unveiled the existence of a wide-reaching network of software contacts and cryptocurrency payments deployed to cover tracks in an elaborate scheme.

Specifically, drug users and traffickers used “overseas social software” to establish contact, upon which the former would make payments using crypto assets, and the latter would hide packages of narcotics in specific locations, according to a report published by Shanghai Observer on June 26.

As it happens, the police revealed the case on the eve of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking,” stating that it involved “the sale of new drugs, as well as cultivation, processing, and sale of marijuana by a criminal gang,” through the “fully contactless internet drug trafficking chain, which has become the main form of drug trade today.”

Unravelling the knot

In February, the police in the Putuo District of Shanghai received a report that someone was selling LSD “stamps,” sparking an investigation in which the narcotics officers pretended to be buyers. However, the task was challenging as the drug dealers demanded payments in crypto, as there was no physical contact between the parties involved, “leaving the identity of the drug traffickers a mystery,” as one police officer explained.

That said, the police had a breakthrough after going through a vast amount of video footage from the area that the drug dealers provided as the location for the narcotics, which they secured in a plastic bag and carefully hid at the bottom of a mailbox in an old apartment building, leading to multiple arrests.

China versus crypto

According to the report, the increasing role of the crypto market and overseas social media platforms in the country has led to the proliferation of online drug trafficking and similar transactions, as well as the formation of online drug supply chains.

Meanwhile, China has been in a complicated relationship with the crypto sector, which has ranged from a complete ban on mining cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) to its Supreme Court approving the use of crypto to settle debts to the Beijing Municipal Science & Technology Commission releasing a white paper intending to foster innovation and development within the web3 industry.

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