During the raid at the house of a criminal charged for money laundering and cultivation of cannabis the police found a crypto wallet with 295 Bitcoins. After the conviction the forces got entitled to confiscate the cryptos.
The issue of the authorities dealing with cryptocurrencies usually relates to juridical or financial spheres. But the British county police force has proven that it is ready for the mass crypto adoption: the Surrey police confiscated 295 Bitcoins from a criminal. That is the first precedent of the kind in the country.
The starting point for this real-life detective story with a touch of cryptos was the report on the kidnap of Sergejs Teresko, the Latvian national. In April 2017 his girlfriend raised the alarm when she spotted him being bundled into a car in Virginia Water, Surrey. Teresko showed up safe and sound the next day – but this time was enough for the Surrey police to discover the cannabis factory near the rented house from where he was told to be kidnapped.
The safe return of Teresko was marred by a number of links connecting him with that cannabis farm. What is more, the police found vast amounts of cash at his home. Range Rover Evoque, a number of designer watches, gold bars and jewellery also thrown the suspicion on the clean life of an unemployed man. The combination of these factors led to Teresko’s arrest.
The next search of the criminal’s house revealed more valuables among which was a bitcoin wallet with 295 Bitcoins. A court hearing ended in the conviction for money laundering and cultivation of cannabis, Teresko was sentenced to nine years and three months in prison.
After the judgment delivery in October 2017, the Surrey police started to work with the seized valuables. The Surrey police transferred the cryptocurrency to its own wallet and sold it on an offshore exchange. They got £1.25 million from this sell as the price of Bitcoin at that time was about $5,000. Probably, that seemed to be a great deal as the price of Bitcoin in April 2017 – when the story started – was about $1,200. But do not forget that two month after this deal Bitcoin hit its historical maximum
The latest news came from the local court on the 20th of July 2018: it was concluded that Teresko benefited about £2 million from his criminal activity. The court also entitled the Surrey police force to confiscate the seized Bitcoins.
The Surrey police not only became the first in the country to seize Bitcoins discovered during an investigation – they also made use of this money. 18.8 percent of the proceeds contributed to the operational budget of the force.
That is not the first accident which involves both the police and cryptocurrency. Danish police used cryptocurrency transfers as evidence in case of drug dealers.
The tenuous legal situation of Bitcoin can cause problems for the authorities like the police. The lack of legal practice on the cryptos can play against the governmental structures. The precedent created by the Surrey police proves that Bitcoin is not out of the reach of law enforcement.