A brilliant operation by Europol and the FBI led to hundreds of arrests around the world. This is a powerful blow to organized crime. An extensive press conference is expected today.
The basis for the development and implementation of a successful operation was the hacking by the American and Australian authorities of a special application that was used by criminals, AFP reports.
Europol’s announcement today says:
“The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Dutch National Police (Politie) and the Swedish Police Department (Polisen), in cooperation with the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and 16 other countries, have carried out one of the largest and most complex day of law enforcement operations to combat encrypted criminal activity. “
Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia, told reporters in Sydney:
“The operation has dealt a serious blow to organized crime – not only in this country, but also to organized crime around the world. This is a turning point in Australian law enforcement history. ”
Australia claims 224 arrests, including notorious motorcycle gangs, New Zealand 35. Arrests took place in 16 more countries, more than 800 people were imprisoned in total. Officials said the Middle East and South America are involved in the global drug trade. Europol and the FBI are planning an extensive press conference today. And the events developed like this.
In a 2018 operation by Australian police and the FBI, US officials took control of ANOM, a messaging app popular on organized crime networks. This method of communication was considered by criminals to be absolutely safe, since the application was encrypted and did not use attributes such as GPS and cameras. The police only had to track the “safe” messages:
“We were in the back pocket of organized crime. They only talked about drugs, violence, hitting each other, innocent people to be killed. There were messages like “speedboat will meet you here”, “he will do it”, and so on. “
Feeling completely safe, the criminals exchanged unambiguous messages without even trying to code them. During the observation, several serious crimes were prevented – an attack on a family of five, an armed attack on a cafe.
On Monday, during the operation, in Australia alone, $ 45 million and 104 firearms were seized, 6 pharmaceutical laboratories were closed and 525 charges were brought against detainees. In total, 700 searches were carried out and seized:
more than 8 tons of cocaine; 22 tons of cannabis and cannabis resin; 2 tons of synthetic drugs (amphetamine and methamphetamine); 6 tons of synthetic drug precursors; 250 units of firearms; 55 luxury cars; over 48 million US dollars in various world currencies and cryptocurrencies.
And this is not the limit – new charges, searches and arrests are expected in the coming days and weeks.