Every now and then, law enforcement agencies cooperate and get incredible things done.
The latest examples come with a massive sting by the FBI together with Australian and European police agencies.
This crime-fighting team busted up one of the largest crime rings in history; they made 800 arrests early Tuesday morning and swept down on criminals from Finland to Florida and the UK to Melbourne.
They also seized huge amounts of cash, drugs, illegal weapons, and stolen goods.
The massive sting project was called Operation Ironside. This operation involved cooperation from 16 countries, including the United States by way of the FBI.
Over $148 million in cash was seized along with massive amounts of drugs.
The most surprising thing is the clever way in which the operation was executed. Starting back in 2018, Australian police and the FBI came up with the idea of getting informants and other contacts to give out phones to gang members. In these phones was a secret encrypted app called ANoM.
Let's advance the story a bit w/ some original reporting: An FBI informant introduced Anom to Phantom Secure & Sky Global users in 2018. The informant gave each user a unique ID number, the FBI had full access to that ID list. Working w/ AFP, it was called Operation Trojan Horse https://t.co/iH4GaTGF60
— Seamus Hughes (@SeamusHughes) June 8, 2021
This gave the feds and their partners full access to everything those individuals were doing on their phones.
They spread the phones by making them self-contained. This way, only ANoM phones could communicate with other ANoM phones. These phones were therefore seen as extra secure and encrypted by criminals.
FBI Assistant Director Calvin Shivers said that in the last year and a half, the FBI gave criminal organizations more than 300 encrypted devices in more than 100 different nations.
This allowed authorities to make hundreds of arrests and also prevented over 100 homicides that otherwise would have happened, according to Shivers.
12,000 ANoM Phones Were Given Out
In addition to the FBI’s contributions, other police agencies also got in on the ANoM sting. This sting involved leaking out 12,000 phones altogether on the black market and making them look secure.
In Australia, authorities made sure the phones got into the right hands of dangerous Asian gangs, drug cartels, biker gangs, and various mafia organizations.
Australian Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw said that the huge amount of arrests today has made Australia “a much safer country.” He then called the results of Operation Ironside “extraordinary.”
THREAD: AFP-led Operation IRONSIDE is a long-term, international, covert investigation into serious organised crime and outlaw motorcycle gangs allegedly responsible for large-scale drug importations, drug manufacturing and attempts to kill. pic.twitter.com/wZFQreMpQp
— AFP (@AusFedPolice) June 8, 2021
Kershaw also said that this doesn’t only get bad guys off the streets; it also gives the chance to solve “a number of cold cases” based on new information and intelligence from the bugged phones.
Still, Kershaw pointed out that a lot of work still needs to be done; many criminals are still using even more encrypted phones out of the reach of authorities to flood his country with dangerous drugs. The US has the same problem and there needs to be a serious crackdown on this scum.
Nonetheless, at this time, the important thing is to congratulate all those behind Operation Ironside and be glad these disgusting criminals are all behind bars.