Three men [Néstor Rafael Amundaray Precilla (57), Kevin David Ojeda Díaz (26), Alberto José Zapata Orta (23)] and a woman [Ana Cecilia Farias Villanueva (25)] have been arrested in the Venezuelan town of Charallave in connection with crypto-currency mining.
Douglas Rico, director of the federal police agency Cuerpo de Investigaciones Cientificas Penales y Criminalisticas (CICPC) announced that the criminals were held accountable for “electricity theft” and “Internet fraud” due to operating over 300 bitcoin mining computers. Subsequently, the offenders sold the machines near the Venezuelan border where currency controls can be bypassed. The news was first published online by CriptoNoticias.
This is not the first instance of bitcoin miners arrested by the Venezuelan federal police. An identical situation took place in 2015 when two men were detained on the grounds of the same charges.
The crime of bitcoin mining is gaining popularity in socialist Venezuela owing to the heavily subsidized electricity prices. Essentially, this process changes the value of electricity into currency. Since electricity is practically free, bitcoin miners only need considerable computer processing power in order to make handsome profit by sponging off the country.