Spanish police got more than they bargained for when they went in search of a marijuana farm – and ended up unearthing an illegal bitcoin (BTC) mining operation instead.
Per Xataka and an official police report, officers were investigating what they initially thought was an “indoor marijuana plantation” in stables in Santiponce, a small town near Seville.
But as they began to deepen their investigation, they realized that the stables had actually been converted for another purpose. When they eventually raided the facility, they found “a cryptocurrency farm” – an unusual development as there are “hardly any records” of such operations in Spain.
Energy costs are relatively high in Spain, and cooling prices are yet higher. Summer temperatures can soar up to around 38 degrees Celsius.
Officers found the stables had been fitted with “modern facilities for cryptocurrency mining.” These included 21 ASIC mining rigs “dedicated exclusively to bitcoin mining.” The equipment, the police said, had been set up to receive power via an illegal connection – and tap the public grid for electricity.
The police said the BTC equipment had an estimated value of just under $35,000, and was making the “farm” operators some $2,745 worth of coins per month.
Spanish Police Discover Bitcoin Mining Equipment – and More – in Raid
Other crypto mining equipment – presumably altcoin rigs – were also found at the property, and were said to be earning their owners almost $1,100 a month.
Police said they also found “refrigeration systems” and “powerful” industrial fans at the site. They said these were designed to expel the hot air generated by the rigs.
Outside the stables, they found an “illegal connection” to the local electrical network. Engineers from the Santiponce electricity provider stated that the connection was capable of “gathering” electricity worth $2,200 every month.
The agents who analyzed the hardware stated that they believed the farm was “in the early stage of operations.” They claimed that police had intervened before the “farm” had become profitable.
Late last year, Spanish lawmakers successfully added a number of crypto-related clauses to the nation’s criminal code.