Europol seize €3m crypto in ‘biggest ever’ LSD bust

Investigators have seized millions in Bitcoin, Lumen and IOTA after dismantling a huge drugs ring in Spain.

A five-year joint operation by the Spanish Guardia Civil and Austria’s Federal Police uncovered a high-profile gang running three drug production labs in Amsterdam and Spain. Police found nearly 800,000 doses of LSD along with 100 different kinds of legal highs, officially known as New Psychoactive Substances. Among the haul were synthetic cannabinoids, amphetamines, psychotropics and psychadelics as well as synthetic opioids. 

Officers raided six houses in Madrid, Valencia and Granada, confiscating 10 luxury cars, three houses with a value of €1 million, €1.6 million from an Austrian bank account and €700,000 in cash. Investigators were also able to tie 510 Bitcoin worth €2,691,520, lumen worth €30,000 and €137,000 in IOTA to the drug traffickers.

Europol said the gang had made millions selling exclusively through invite-only darknet marketplaces.

The gang, which had been operating since 2012, imported raw materials from China before making the products in Amsterdam, then shipping them to Valencia for distribution. Each drug was packaged as a legal product, such as plant food, or additives for mixing cement, before being posted out to over 100 countries worldwide, with payment requested in the three types of relatively untraceable cryptocurrency.

Eight suspected gang members from France, Spain and Austria were arrested in connection with the bust.