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Venezuela authorities seize Bitcoin mining machines from notorious prison 

Venezuelan security forces recently raided a criminal gang-controlled Tocorón prison and confiscated Bitcoin (BTC) mining machines, along with various weapons such as grenades, rocket launchers, and guns. 

The Venezuelan government sent out over 11,000 soldiers and police to take back the Tocorón prison which served as the headquarters of the notorious Tren de Aragua gang. The development marked the first time that authorities would take action against the country’s most feared criminal group that extended its operations to neighboring countries. 

According to reports, members of the feared gang were involved in illicit activities including human trafficking, kidnappings, extortion, and prostitution. 

The prison had facilities such as a baseball field, swimming pool, a zoo, a nightclub, and a casino for inmates. There were also Bitcoin mining machines that were used to illegally mine BTC. 

Remigo Ceballos, Venezuela’s Interior and Justice Minister, revealed that four guards were arrested during the raid, on the suspicion that they aided the gang members. 

Some inmates managed to escape during the raid, while the government evacuated the prison’s 1,600 inmates to other locations. Ceballos declared the clampdown as successful, adding that authorities were prepared to “go against all the criminals and accomplices.”

Venezuela’s regulators suspended Bitcoin mining operations in March, following investigations into an alleged corruption scheme involving the use of cryptocurrency wallets to redirect funds belonging to Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), a state-run oil company. 

However, Bloomberg reported in June that the temporary ban was destroying the crypto-mining industry that once thrived in the country.

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