crime

Police make bitcoin-linked drug arrest

12 Comments

A suspected drug importer who allegedly used bitcoin to pay his Mexican suppliers has been arrested in Japan, police said Friday, in reportedly the country's first case of its kind.

Police forces in Tokyo and Fukuoka teamed up for the operation to arrest Ayumu Teramoto, 38, on suspicion of buying a "stimulant drug" from abroad, a spokesman for Tokyo Metropolitan Police said.

It was not clear what the drug was, but the phrase is often used to describe substances such as cocaine or methamphetamine.

Media, including national broadcaster NHK, said it was the first time someone had been arrested in Japan for a drug transaction that involved bitcoin.

While the virtual currency is yet to gain broad-based acceptance in Japan, its profile has been given a boost by the recent collapse of Tokyo-based Mt Gox, once the world's largest bitcoin exchange.

Teramoto used bitcoin to buy some 50 grams of the drug, worth 3.5 million yen, NHK said, citing police sources.

The package arrived at Narita airport near Tokyo, concealed inside a tablet computer, NHK said.

Tokyo police declined to discuss financial and other details of the suspected deal, only confirming that Teramoto used an online service to import the drug via the United States and was arrested on Wednesday.

The arrest will likely give support to critics of the virtual currency movement, who say its anonymity and lack of regulation make it ideal for use by criminals.

Bitcoins were used by dealers on the underground Silk Road website, where U.S. prosecutors say buyers could use it to purchase drugs and even to organize assassinations.

Bitcoins are generated by complex chains of interactions among a huge network of computers around the planet and are not backed by any government or central bank.

Mt Gox is going through bankruptcy proceedings after it admitted that it had lost 850,000 coins, worth nearly $500 million at the time due, in what it blamed on security lapses.

The Japanese government has banned banks from brokering bitcoin transactions or opening accounts holding the virtual unit.

© (c) 2014 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

12 Comments
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50 grams of the drug, worth 3.5 million yen,

That's a bit expensive isn't it. 10 times what coke would cost in England, if it even was coke and not speed.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The arrest will likely give support to critics of the virtual currency movement, who say its anonymity and lack of regulation make it ideal for use by criminals.

What a ridiculous statement. Hundreds of drug-related crimes daily in Japan paid for using Japanese yen; currency that is by definition anonymous if not put into a bank, yet these 'critics' don't clamor for the yen's demise.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

"it was the first time someone had been arrested in Japan for a drug transaction that involved bitcoin." The Japanese judiciary must be ecstatic.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Time to CLOSE down all of these silly bit coin scams! Sure, real Japanese yen, US dollars etc..are used around the world to buy and sell drugs, and now all we need is crap like this bit coin to make it all just a bit MORE DIFFICULT TO TRACE just where the $$ is flowing!! Real smart to send drugs in a tablet pc, the mafias always are trying to stay one step of the cops, no surprise here. Good on the JAPANESE POLICE!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Is drugs related crimes are a big problem in Japan? I hope not. Japanese police seem to get on top of this problem quickly. Well done!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The numbers are way off. And , as a previous poster stated, lots of drug, and other illegal transactions, are carried out in Japanese yen. The contracts with the yakuza for the Fukushima clean up for one.....

0 ( +1 / -1 )

SumoBobMay. 10, 2014 - 11:04AM JST What a ridiculous statement. Hundreds of drug-related crimes daily in Japan paid for using Japanese yen; currency that is by definition anonymous if not put into a bank, yet these 'critics' don't clamor for the yen's demise.

Of course your comparison is completely accurate! Daily there are hundreds of criminals stuffing envelopes with yen to send overseas to buy drugs.

... Oh, wait, you were comparing domestic crimes, 10 000yen for a couple of grams of weed, with an international crime where a large (for Japan) quantity of a hard-core drug was purchased for 3.5 million yen, probably with the intention of cutting it and selling it on in dozens of domestic transactions.

Now last time I checked not only is it illegal to send yen by mail, but it would also be pretty darned obvious if you stuffed an envelope with 3.5 million in cash and handed it in at your local post office. Credit card is in no way anonymous, which leaves... bitcoins.

You don't have a point. You're comparing apples and elephants.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Back on topic please.

I recently recieved a spam email urging me to invest in Bitcoins. Cripes!

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oikawa wrote:

That's a bit expensive isn't it. 10 times what coke would cost in England, if it even was coke and not speed.

Police always exaggerate the value of drugs they confiscate. It's SOP.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Bitcoins are useless anyway, I think.

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what a load of BS, just a ploy by the J gov to make bit coin look really bad and evil, as Sumo said many illegal transactions are done every day using Yen currency. much of which would be stored at the criminals homes or in safety deposit boxes. this make it totally anonymous. no different to Bitcoin

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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