Elliptics study on crypto’s use in the fentanyl supply chain comes at a time when the deadly synthetic opioid is causing massive public health issues in the United States, Europe, and the world at large.
Despite China’s fentanyl export restrictions, the study revealed that savvy operators have found ways to smuggle precursor chemicals overseas. Tactics include using disguised packaging, such as dog food or car wash detergent, and leveraging established carriers who may not frequently verify package contents.
Crypto Exchanges Funnel $50 Billion In Street-Valued Fentanyl Ingredients
According to the report, transactions to Bitcoin addresses, and USDT addresses on Tron and Ethereum blockchains were identified. In total, these addresses received $32 million in crypto for fentanyl precursor chemicals.
Elliptic estimates that if all these funds were used to buy fentanyl products, the goods could produce as much as $50 billion in drug proceeds factoring in street value.
The report was released amid a global crackdown on questionable crypto exchanges suspected to be money laundering intermediaries. In January, U.S. authorities sanctioned and shut down an almost unknown Russian exchange called Bizlato on money laundering suspicions. Investigators also linked Bizlato to major exchange Binance.
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