Bitcoin Mining Machines Found in Venezuelan Prison

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  • A recent prison raid in Venezuela led to the discovery of Bitcoin mining machines alongside heavy weaponry
  • The prison had been controlled by the local Tren de Aragua gang
  • This discovery adds to a growing list of unusual locations for illegal cryptocurrency mining operations

A prison raid in Venezuela last week unearthed a rare and unexpected discovery: Bitcoin mining machines. The raid was carried out as a means of cracking down on the South American country’s most powerful organized crime group, with 11,000 troops used to raid the Tocorón prison in Aragua state. In photographs following the raid, Venezuelan authorities displayed numerous Bitcoin mining machines and confiscated heavy weaponry, including rocket launchers and grenades as the prison was retaken from the criminal gang that was controlling it.

Prison Coup Resulted in Bitcoin Mining

Bitcoin mining has been conducted in some strange places, but a criminal gang-operated Venezuelan prison is certainly a new one. The facility had served as the stronghold for the Tren de Aragua gang, active in Venezuela and other Latin American nations, with four prison guards arrested as suspected associates of the gang members who had enjoyed lavish lifestyles while incarcerated.

Last week, however, more than 11,000 police and soldiers, supported by tanks and armored vehicles, raided the Tocoron prison in the northern region, where the Bitcoin mining operation was discovered alongside the weaponry. Interior and Justice Minister Remigio Ceballos vowed to hold all criminals and their accomplices accountable, commending the operation’s success, which led to the evacuation of 1,600 inmates to different locations.

Another One for the List

This isn’t the first time that crypto mining has been conducted in a prison, however; last May a Russian deupty prison warden was arrested for running a crypto mining operation from within the facility for four months, consuming almost 8,400 kW of electricity in the process, leaving the local government more than 62,000 rubles ($1,000) out of pocket.

Illegal cryptocurrency mining operations have famously been uncovered in all sorts of strange places, with Russia’s oldest prison now able to add itself to this eclectic list. This list includes a Ukrainian nuclear power station, FBI servers, a Chinese school, and a Polish police HQ.