The Darknet Marketplace and Digital Currency Crimes task force (DNMDCC), a new task force against cryptocurrency scams, has officially been established in the US.
The project was co-authored by the US Attorney’s Office in Phoenix, Gary M. Restaino, and was announced by the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona. In reality, the task force was established by Restaino’s office in collaboration with Special Agent Scott Brown of Arizona Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Special Agent Al Childress of IRS Criminal Investigation, Special Agent Cheri Oz of the US Drug Enforcement Administration, and Inspector Greg Torbenson of the US Postal Inspection Service.
Task force against cryptocurrency fraud
The informal partnership has existed since 2017, when they started concentrating on darknet drug dealers and cryptocurrency-related crimes.
They have been particularly concerned with exploiting cryptocurrency and separating out illicit activity from money laundering.
Law enforcement organizations have had to adjust as these illicit activities and businesses have advanced.
The DNMDCC task force, which is likewise focused on cryptocurrency fraud, was created as a result.
The usage of the Internet has increased noticeably over the past few years, notably as a base network for the importation, sale, and distribution of illegal drugs, weapons, and personal information.
Additionally, the usage of digital currencies has grown, which is why it was decided to establish a unique task force that operates solely in the District of Arizona.
The DNMDCC’s goal is to stop and destroy criminal organizations that take advantage of the darkweb’s anonymity or that utilize digital currency as a cover for illegal activity.
Technically speaking, it will be used to improve interagency cooperation.
The Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) recently disclosed that it had seized approximately $4 billion worth of cryptocurrencies overall from criminal activity.
Even while these figures are tiny in relation to the amounts of legal trading (51 billion in the previous day alone), they are still starting to gain significance. That is, while it is little in percentage terms, it is a substantial sum in absolute terms.
Despite the fact that a much less percentage of money is actually laundered through cryptocurrencies than through traditional domestic fiat currencies, most notably the dollar, four billion dollars is still a significant amount of money.
So while there is a growth in the use of cryptocurrencies for criminal activity, it is still much less than the usage of traditional fiat currency.
In fact, the sheer scale of the figure indicates a significant increase in law enforcement activities in this region.
They must also be becoming better and better at using on-chain transaction tracking to analyze the scenario and identify culprits.
In other words, cryptocurrencies are likely assisting both law enforcement and the criminals they are trying to catch.
When informed of the task force’s formation, Phoenix prosecutor Gary Restaino made the following remarks:
We’ve done great work with our federal partners in the dark web and crypto space. This task force will enable us to continue the great collaboration with USPIS, DEA, IRS-CI and HSI, and I look forward to robust interdiction and prosecution efforts to deter digital crimes.
Scott Brown, a special agent with HSI in Arizona, added:
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 taskforce 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.
The IRS Phoenix Field Office’s Albert Childress offered the following observation:
IRS-CI is increasingly dedicating more investigative time and agent expertise to tackle darknet and cryptocurrency crimes. Our agents excel in addressing sophisticated cyber-related schemes and are up to the challenge of locating and apprehending criminals who try to hide in the digital world.
DEA Special Agent Cheri Oz further stated:
DEA is committed to saving lives. Drug traffickers who are hiding in the darknet will be aggressively targeted and unmasked by this task force.
Glen Henderson, the acting inspector for the US Postal Inspection Service’s Phoenix Division, concluded by saying:
The U.S Postal Inspection Service’s participation in this task force with our law enforcement partners and the Department of Justice underscores our commitment to keeping the U.S. Mail safe for all who handle and receive it. Dark web vendors and their operatives believe they can hide anonymously while perpetrating their crimes. The collaborative effort of this task force proves criminals operating on the web are never truly anonymous and they will be uncovered and prosecuted.