August 4, 2021

Hundreds arrested in global organized crime crackdown

It took three years and the collaboration of police forces from several countries around the world to achieve a gigantic crackdown against organized crime: hundreds of people were arrested around the world, police announced Tuesday (June 8th). federal government thanks to the infiltration by the police of an application used to exchange coded messages between criminals.

This operation was triggered by the police in several countries in Europe, the United States, Australia and New Zealand, who managed to decode, in real time and for three years, thousands of encrypted communications within criminal networks of all kinds, Australian police said in a statement.

New Zealand police, for their part, described the operation as “The most sophisticated in the world against organized crime that has been carried out by the police to date”.

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An application controlled by the FBI

This massive interception of messages was made possible thanks to an application called “ANoM”, which criminals around the world used to communicate in an encrypted way, but which was in fact controlled by the FBI, the American federal police force.

These messages concerned in particular assassination projects and drug and arms trafficking, said Australian police who arrested 224 people in all parts of the country. “Hundreds of people have been arrested” outside Australia, the same source added. New Zealand police have announced the arrest of 35 people, including drug trafficking and money laundering.

L’application “ANoM” was installed on mobile phones which, deprived of any other functionality, were traded on the black market. A phone of this type could only communicate with another phone containing the application. “A criminal had to know another criminal to obtain this material”Australian police said in a statement.

“The devices circulated and their popularity grew among criminals, who had confidence in the legitimacy of the application because great figures of organized crime vouched for its integrity”, she continued. “These criminal influencers put the Australian Federal Police in the handgun pockets of hundreds of suspected offenders”Australian Police Chief Reece Kershaw said in the statement.

“Basically they handcuffed each other by embracing and trusting ANoM and communicating openly with it, not knowing that we were listening to them all the time.”, he added. The operation was codenamed “Ironside” in Australia and “Trojan Shield” worldwide.

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The World with AFP