Customs officers in Argentina have seized a haul of 342 crypto mining rigs as the nation continues its recent crackdown on illegal miners.
The state news agency Télam reported that the swoop was conducted by the General Directorate of Customs (DGA) and the nation’s tax body, the Federal Administration of Public Revenues (AFIP).
The rigs were hidden in 14 shipping containers set to be unloaded at the Port of Buenos Aires, and had been concealed among a range of various items, including pepper spray containers, cosmetic items, sunglasses, children’s toys, video game consoles controllers, electric cattle prods, and cell phone accessories, officials explained.
Many of the seized items, including the rigs, were described as contraband, and the officials stated that the equipment and other illegally imported items had a total market value of $5.6 million.
Importing crypto mining rigs is not illegal in Argentina, but both miners and importers are legally obliged to declare their purchases and pay taxes on the import of rigs.
The nation’s finance minister, Sergio Massa, was present as the AFIP and DGA exhibited their haul at the port. He explained that Argentine laws also “prohibit imports” in certain sectors, in order to “protect national industrial interests.”
Also in attendance was Carlos Castagneto, the head of the AFIP. He promised to continue the agency’s recent crackdown – which has seen it shut down crypto miners across the country.
Castagneto was quoted as stating:
“For us there are no Saturdays or Sundays: We want an AFIP that works everywhere.”
Customs officers, meanwhile, claimed that they would “continue to put a stop to everything that threatens the transparency of international trade.”
Argentina: Crypto Mining Crackdown Continues to Gather Pace
The AFIP has taken to the warpath for illegal crypto miners since Castagneto took control in August this year. Since then, the body claims to have “dismantled” a range of crypto mining operations in the provinces of Córdoba, La Plata, Santa Fe, and Mar del Plata.
Earlier this month, AFIP raids in Córdoba reportedly saw the agency seize “57 mining rigs and 342 video cards with a market value of $420,000.”