USDT and Bitcoin are the most common payment methods with 81 out of 90 providers precursors fentanyl, which provoked an “epidemic” in the United States. Elliptic analysts came to such conclusions.
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— Elliptic (@elliptic) May 23, 2023
According to experts, the wallets used by these companies received “thousands of payments” worth over $27 million. In a year, the number of transactions increased by 450%. This amount can be used to produce final products worth $54 billion.
Two-thirds of the proceeds came from bitcoin, only 1% from digital assets other than the first cryptocurrency and USDT.
The analysis also showed that one of the largest fentanyl merchants paid $84,598 in bitcoin between March 2019 and May 2020 to a supplier in the Elliptic sample.
The company recalled that on April 11, the White House said it intends to “expand efforts to curb illegal activities to finance such criminals through sanctions.”
On April 14, the US Treasury imposed restrictions on a number of individuals and entities from China for supplying precursors for the production of fentanyl to Mexican drug cartels. The notice also includes the cryptocurrency wallets they use.
Elliptic specialists, posing as potential buyers, entered into a dialogue with suppliers and became convinced of the possibility of payments in digital assets.
“They always use USDT or Bitcoin. […] It’s not a problem”, explained to them.
Analysts found three non-China-based exchanges that comply AML-requirements used by precursor manufacturers.
The specialists gave them “hundreds of addresses” to block, and also promised to continue to support efforts to prevent the use of cryptocurrencies by suppliers of drug ingredients.
Recall that in May 2023, Europol closed the darknet marketplace Monopoly Market, confiscating €50.8 million ($53.4 million) in digital assets and cash. In addition to money, authorities seized 850 kg of synthetic drugs and 117 firearms.
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