Australian police smash organized crime rings in largest-ever sting operation

Australian police smash organized crime rings in largest-ever sting operation

The Commissioner conceded that this sting operation was just the beginning, revealing that the app allowed law enforcement to identify just 5 percent of encrypted communications used by underworld figures, around 1,600 to 1,700 in Australia and 9,000 globally.

The UK National Crime Agency said it had carried out "multiple operations" as a result of the sting, codenamed Operation Trojan Shield.

Police executed the largest number of search warrants in Australia in one day on Monday, seizing 104 firearms, including military-grade sniper rifles, and approximately A $ 45 million (£ 25 million) in cash.

Law enforcement agencies say they have arrested hundreds of criminals around the world in a three-year operation, using a secure messaging app run by the American FBI.

Australian Federal Police Commander Jennifer Hurst said it was "a turning point in the history of world law enforcement".

"The success of Operation Trojan Shield is a result of tremendous innovation, dedication and unprecedented global collaboration", Shivers said. Undercover investigators solicited certain underworld "influencers" to get the custom phones into the hands of fellow criminals, and new users had to be vetted by known existing customers, according to a source close to the investigation.

The FBI's Shivers said this enabled them to "turn the tables" on criminals. The gang believed that the system was secure because the phone had no other features, no voice or camera features were loaded, and the app was encrypted. "Therefore, we not only develop specific tools, but also collect intelligence to bring intelligence".

The key to the operation was the secret rollout of a new platform called ANoM to criminal syndicates by law enforcement.

"The devices organically circulated and grew in popularity among criminals, who were confident of the legitimacy of the app because high-profile organised crime figures vouched for its integrity".

The intelligence collected and analyzed "was able to prevent murder".

Authorities seized hundreds of kilogramsme of drugs, more than 20 weapons, over 30 luxury cars, and cash worth 250,000 euros, as well as IT equipment. The crimes range from Australian biker gangs, drug cartels found in South America and Asia, weapons and human traffickers in Europe, and numerous murder cases from various areas.

The operation, jointly conceived by Australia and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, saw the app ANOM secretly distributed among criminals, allowing police to monitor their conversations without their knowledge.

Australian authorities said they arrested 224 people and seized more than four tons of drugs and 35 million USA dollars (£24.7 million) in an ongoing operation that dates back three years.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has hailed the Australian Federal Police's unprecedented operation targeting some of the nation's "most risky criminals".

"Today, the Australian government, as part of a global operation, has struck a heavy blow against organised crime", Mr Morrison said. "It will resonate not only in this country, but around the world".

Last year, European police hit organized crime after deciphering EncroChat, an encrypted communications network used by criminal organizations on the continent.

Australia said it had arrested 224 people, including members of an illegal motorcycle gang, and New Zealand said it had detained 35 people.

The latest operation went even further.

"The success of Operation Trojan Shield is a result of tremendous innovation, dedication and unprecedented global collaboration", Shivers said.

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