US Drug Enforcement Agency Seized $1.8M From Binance in 2022

Binance and the Drug Enforcement Agency disrupted a pipeline that moved cash generated from selling narcotics in Michigan to Mexico via stablecoins.

AccessTimeIconFeb 24, 2023 at 8:55 a.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2023 at 4:08 a.m. UTC

Federal officials seized nearly $1.8 million in cryptocurrencies from six Binance accounts tied to drug traffickers.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan granted a civil forfeiture request for approximately $1.8 million in today’s value of cryptocurrencies that were seized in May 2022 as part of an operation to disrupt a cash pipeline that funneled the proceeds of narcotics sales to Mexico via stablecoins.

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  • Court filings and source familiar with the matter say that the cash couriers would deposit money generated from drug trafficking, use Binance to purchase USDT as well as bitcoin (BTC), and then send the crypto to a designated address controlled by a criminal organization in Mexico.

    Six Binance accounts were named in the criminal complaint.

    A source that works with law enforcement on these matters said that the relationship between Binance and the DEA is “pretty tight.” DEA officials and Binance staff regularly meet to share intelligence, which is used to calibrate Binance’s anti-money laundering policies and assist DEA operations, the individual said.

    This is part of a continued effort by Mexican cartels to use Binance as a conduit for money laundering.

    Per earlier reports, Mexican gangs have been using Binance since early 2020. In 2021, a Mexican national named Carlos Fong Echavarria pled guilty to charges of drug trafficking and laundering around $4.7 million in crypto.

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