German Police Shuts Down Illegal Mining Operation that Caused 250K USD in Damages

The German law enforcement recently arrested a gang of 6 individuals who secretly and illegally mined crypto without proper permission, evading the payments associated with electricity supply.

View of Klingenthal

According to an article published by Freie Presse, the criminal gang involved five men and one woman operating their equipment in Klingenthal, a municipality in the Vogtlandkreis district of Saxony.

The intelligence operation involved a team of 121 officials who tracked and investigated eight properties in the areas of Zwickau and Vogtland. The police did not specify the time spent on the investigation, but they did reveal the magnitude of the operation carried out by the miners and the cost of the damages caused by the group:

“The specialists discovered an operating computer system consisting of 49 miners on industrial shelf units, which illegally obtained electricity by bypassing the flowmeter. Reportedly, the rigs were housed in the rooms of the former PGH Elektro (GDR Production Cooperative of the Crafts).
The damage to the energy supplier is enormous. According to the public prosecutor’s office, the plant consumed as much electricity as 30 households. The farm had been in operation since the beginning of 2017, possibly continuously. Over two years, the damage amounted to 220,000 euros.”

The equipment was mostly mining rigs for GPU-compatible cryptos. According to information from the public prosecutor, the secret farm had 80 GPUs continuously working.

“Among the 49 computers found in Klingenthal, 30 were equipped with special hardware for the extraction of cryptocurrencies. 80 graphics cards were installed in the system. Experts from the Cybercrime Competence Center Saxony (SN4C), founded in 2014 at the State Criminal Police Office, participated in the investigation”

Picture of the illegal farm. Courtesy: Freie Press

So far it is not known whether criminals will go to jail or will only have to pay fines for evading monetary obligations. The prosecution has not commented on this issue because investigations are still ongoing.

Although a finding of this magnitude is new to Germany, in the rest of the world illegal mining is a fairly serious problem that has been grown since the crypto boom in 2017. Countries such as China, Russia, and the United States have shut down operations of equal or greater magnitude.

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