Police in the UK have successfully made the first recovery and conversion of cryptocurrencies into fiat currency after bursting a crime ring. The Surrey Police responded to calls by neighbors and members of public about a man who had been allegedly bundled into his car and kidnapped outside his house in Virginia Water, Surrey.
The incident, which happened in April 2017, led to a larger operation that netted the criminal in question as well as the discovery of hidden cryptocurrencies and other valuables.
Drug Factory Bursted
Apparently, Sergejs Teresko hadn’t been kidnapped. He turned up at his house the next day all safe and sound. The incident led the police to be curious to understand what had happened, and a search of Sergejs house revealed everything.
It turned out that the Latvian man was using the rented house as a drug factory. When he turned up safe, police decided to conduct a thorough search of Sergejs’s rented house in Cobham, where they discovered a keepkey device. In the device, they found £1.25 million worth of Bitcoin.
A further search in the gang member’s house revealed a sealed box with cash amounting to £263,000 and a collection of jewellery and designer watches. According to reports, Sergejs,31, wasn’t employed anywhere, yet he owned an expensive Range Rover Evoque.
Also, he had a safety box with gemstones, gold bars, jewellery, and £20,000 in cash. The suspicious turn of events led to Sergejs’s arrest and he was later charged with money laundering and cultivating cannabis. At Kingston Crown Court in 2017, he pleaded guilty to charges of cultivation of cannabis, money laundering, and possession of articles to be used in fraud.
Following the charges and eventual conviction, Sergejs was sentenced to 9 years and 3 months in prison. On Thursday, the same court that convicted him was presented with further evidence that he had earned about £2 million from his criminal activities, and he has since been ordered to surrender £1.45 million, including forfeiting the cryptocurrencies seized during the search by police.
He is also to cough up a further £13, 150 in a space of 3 months, failure to which he could face an additional 10 years in prison. The Surrey Police also recommended that £64,000 be paid to the owner of the house in which Sergej run his criminal activities.