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In a high-stakes operation, Venezuelan police successfully regained control of the Tocoron prison, shedding light on a startling cache of illicit items. Among the discoveries were Bitcoin mining equipment and a substantial arsenal, encompassing ammunition belts, bullets, sniper rifles, explosives, and even rocket launchers.
This operation, carried out by over 11,000 heavily armed law enforcement officers and soldiers, aimed to retake the facility from the grip of the Tren de Aragua gang.
Inside the “Little City” Prison
Authorities were astounded to find that the gang had effectively transformed the prison into a self-contained “little city,” complete with amenities like a nightclub, swimming pool, zoo, and even a casino.
President Maduro commended the troops for their successful intervention, emphasizing his commitment to eradicating criminal gangs from Venezuela.
Losses, Evictions, and Environmental Impact
During the meticulously planned year-long operation, one soldier tragically lost their life. Interior and Justice Minister Remigio Ceballos vowed that no criminals or accomplices would escape justice.
Additionally, the operation led to the eviction of inmates’ wives or girlfriends, and a devastating consequence was the loss of zoo animals due to extensive fires ignited by the prisoners.
Cryptocurrency Mining Surge and Regulatory Challenges
Venezuela has experienced a surge in cryptocurrency mining, leveraging subsidized electricity for cost-efficient operations. Bitcoin mining, in particular, has flourished amid the backdrop of high inflation rates.
However, this influx of miners has placed significant strain on the national power grid.
Government Response and Global Trend
In response to frequent electricity blackouts, the government has imposed bans on cryptocurrency mining activities. Despite regulatory measures, reports suggest that mining operations continue.
Notably, the confiscated hardware primarily consisted of older versions of Bitmain’s Antminers. This crackdown aligns with a broader global trend, as governments in various regions cite environmental and energy considerations to restrict mining activities.