According to the US Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), drug traffickers increasingly relied on crypto ATMs to aid illicit bulk money transfers, last year.
DEA also noted a surge in BTC withdrawal of many dark web vendors, last year, who feared “loss of funds.” DEA stated that Covid-imposed lockdowns in 2020 delayed drug shipments, causing funds to remain in escrow for longer periods, which could devalue before dealers were able to cash out.
Amid the pandemic, border restrictions between the US and Mexico, in particular, restricted physical cash flow. With money stuck with US-based traffickers, resorting to crypto ATMs became one way for drug dealers to transfer funds.
It must be noted that even crypto ATMs are supposed to abide by AML laws similar to other financial services firms. DEA alleged that some crypto ATM owners assist in obfuscating drug proceeds and are “traffickers”, incorporating cryptocurrency into trade-based money laundering TBML activity.