Authorities in Kazakhstan arrested 23 people suspected of forcing an IT professional to run an illegal crypto mine, according to a report on an information platform supervised by the Ministry of the Interior.
During searches of illegal mining farms, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Kazakhstan’s national security service found seven people thought to be members of the gang and a 36-year-old IT professional who was forced to organize the work of the mining farms, the report said.
Kazakhstan has been trying to root out illicit crypto mining, which draws a lot of electricity from its crumbling grid, while coming up with regulations and taxation to organize the legal industry.
Another three suspected gang members were arrested as authorities searched for illegally stored weapons, the report said.
The group was made up of former convicts and “criminally oriented persons” with a history of violent crimes, including debt collection and extortion, according to the report.
It was making $300,000-$500,000 a month from illicit crypto mining in the Talgar district of the Almaty region, the report said.
Authorities also seized 6,000 items of crypto mining equipment, worth about $7 million, along with an AK-47 assault rifle, ammunition and pistols.