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Venezuela's army and police have confiscated digital assets, as well as bitcoin mining equipment, in an armed raid on the gang-controlled Tocoron prison.
More than 11,000 police and army soldiersVenezuelans, backed by tanks and armored vehicles, stormed the Tocoron prison in the north of the country this week. The facility has long served as the headquarters of the Tren de Aragua gang, operating both in Venezuela and in other Latin American countries. According to an investigation by Venezuelan journalist Ronna Risquez, it has more than 5,000 members.
Minister of the Interior and Justice RemigioRemigio Ceballos said that with the connivance of the prison administration, amenities such as a zoo, a swimming pool, game rooms, a discotheque, a baseball field and a restaurant were created for members of the criminal group. Some prisoners lived with their families or girlfriends. Also on the territory of the prison, an underground mining farm was organized, numbering dozens of pieces of equipment for mining Bitcoin.
Ceballos noted that illegal mining of BTCvery popular in Venezuela, given the country's struggle with hyperinflation coupled with the near-zero cost of electricity in a heavily subsidized electricity market. This makes operations more profitable than the global average, the official explained.
Previously, Venezuelan regulators introduced fulla ban on mining any cryptocurrency pending an investigation into a corruption scheme that reportedly used crypto wallets to siphon funds from state oil company PDVSA.