UPDATE (18th October 11:00GMT): Bit2Bit responded to our request for comment and issued a statement following the police raid.
The company said it was “appalled” by what happened, describing the seizure of its ATM as “collateral damage” in the war on gang crime.
Bit2Bit went on record to state the following:
“The arrested individual has no relationship to Bit2Bit Holdings Pty Ltd. He is not a shareholder, either directly, or indirectly.
Rouge Coffee, and The Roastery Cafe do not own, or operate the ATM. The ATM is the sole property of Bit2Bit and is operated by us.
The ATM does not allow large volume transactions.
Bit2Bit’s staff have been instructed to cooperate fully with any legal requests they get from the police.”
The company pointed out criminals cannot hide behind bitcoin’s supposed veil of anonymity and expressed a hope that the ATM will soon be up and running again.
Australian police have raided a Brisbane coffee shop with ties to a biker gang, seizing a bitcoin ATM in the process.
Police suspected the gang, which goes by the name of the Bandidos, was involved in high-level drug trafficking – allegedly trafficking meth and cocaine, as well as dealing in controlled substances used in the production of certain drugs.
The raid, which was the culmination of a two-year drug investigation, was one of a series of 19 raids across Brisbane, Logan, Cairns, Ipswich and the Gold Coast.
The police operation, codenamed ‘Juliet Wave’, also resulted in the seizure of $2.6m-worth of drugs. A total of 61 people being charged in connection with the case so far.
The investigation was spearheaded by Taskforce Maxima, a squad formed specifically to tackle crimes involving motorcycle gangs.
The bitcoin ATM was seized from the Roastery Cafe in South Brisbane, along with delivery vans and other objects of police interest.
Brent Carall, the proprietor of the cafe, and alleged senior member of the gang Senad Ćatić have been arrested, reports the Brisbane Times.
The seized machine, which was Queensland’s first bitcoin ATM, is now in the process of being forensically investigated, according to Taskforce Maxima superintendent Mick Niland.
It remains to be established whether the ATM was indeed employed by gang members as part of their drug trafficking network.
The Bandidos are a ‘one percenter’ motorcycle gang with more than 200 chapters around the world.
Their operations in Australia are said to be extensive, with chapters located in Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne and more than a dozen other smaller towns and regions.
Superintendent Niland said the gang was targeted because it represents a “significant risk” to the Queensland community and described the Bandidos operation as a “highly sophisticated and exclusive drug network” operated by high-end criminals.
Motorcycles image via Shutterstock