Suspected Weed Factory Drug Bust Uncovers A Clandestine Bitcoin Mining Operation Instead

When I saw this post by the West Midlands Police department, I knew I had to cover it. A crack team of operatives raided what was suspected to be a hidden weed factory but actually turned out to be a dude stealing electricity to run a hidden bitcoin mining operation. I am not sure what timeline we are all living in but I for one am completely satisfied with the quality of content.

Suspected weed farm was actually an illegal Bitcoin mining operation making at least $5000 per month and drawing 91 KWH (minimum) from the grid

The post mentions that the police operation was part of 50 or so warrants for cannabis-related operations and accidentally uncovered a bitcoin farm instead. Heat and electricity consumption are signature signs of large greenhouse operations (which is a weed factory) but when the police raided the place they found a large Bitcoin mining operation stealing electricity from the grid and dumping heat into large ventilation pipes.

We executed a drugs warrant on the 18 May at a premises on a #Sandwell industrial unit – and uncovered a cryptocurrency ‘mine’ that was stealing thousands of pounds worth of electricity from the mains supply.

We heard how lots of people were visiting the unit at different times of day, lots of wiring and ventilation ducts were visible, and a police drone picked up a considerable heat source from above.
They are all classic cannabis factory signs – but when officers gained entry they found a huge bank of around 100 computer units as part of what’s understood to be a Bitcoin mining operation.

The warrant was one of almost 50 executed as part of County Lines Intensification Week (17-23 May) which led to 84 arrests, significant drug seizures and the recovery of weapons including a sawn-off shotgun and a blank firing pistol converted to discharge live rounds.

-West Midlands Police Department

So just how much was this guy making? Well, in what is a very helpful fashion, the West Midlands Police Department has posted the exact model of the bitcoin miner used.

The first picture shows 57 S9 Antminers visible. This particular variant outputs at least 13.5 THash per second while consuming 1320 watts (peak) and assuming all of these devices are the S9 variant, we can quickly calculate the profitability of this mine.

Now there are clearly some miners of the frame as well and I counted at least 12 white power lines going towards the left of the frame. So we are looking at a minimum of 69 miners at the very least. This means that this mine had a total hash rate of 931 TH/s and was drawing a total of 91 KWH (at peak) from the grid. That... is quite a lot of electricity. On the other hand, the racks are numbered up to 99 and if we go with that assumption the profit would be roughly 7000 USD per month with a 130 KWH draw.

Unfortunately, for the guy, it's not a lot of Bitcoin because that hash rate with this obsolete hardware only gets you around $4972 per month at the current difficulty. I mean it's a lot of free money, but it's not mind-boggling amounts. The power consumption on the other hand would have resulted in one massive electricity bill and we can see why they would consider going against the law to make a quick buck. There is currently no news on whether the perp was caught.

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