The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has detailed how it is working to expose transactions made by illegal drug traffickers using cryptocurrencies to cover their trail.
In a written testimony to a Senate committee on Jan. 25, ICE's deputy assistant director Greg Nevano said the agency has seen increasing usage of cryptocurrencies to pay for the trafficking of illicit drug such as opioids like fentanyl.
Combatting this growing concern, the agency said it has adopted various strategies to expose drug traders who are turning to cryptocurrencies for their difficulty to trace.
Nevano wrote in his testimony:
In addition, Nevano also indicated that ICE is employing "complex blockchain technology exploitation tools" in a bid to analyze cryptocurrency transactions and to discover the identities behind those transactions. Further, training is being provided by the agency to national and international cryptocurrency investigators to continue tackling the issue.
While he did not disclose the precise details of the agency's cryptocurrency investigations, the comments mark ICE's latest effort in delving into cryptocurrency's underlying blockchain technology in order to strip its core feature of anonymity.
As reported by CoinDesk previously, in another testimony to a Senate committee, ICE reported its concern that criminal organizations have been increasingly using cryptocurrencies to launder money or pay for illicit activities.
ICE image via Shutterstock
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by Block.one; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.