800 people were arrested in a global sting operation. They were using an app created by the FBI.

London β€” A large-scale international investigation involving 16 countries, including the United States, arrested more than 800 suspects and seized 8 tonnes of cocaine and more than $ 48 million, officials said Tuesday. It was.

The FBI and Australian law enforcement agencies have developed and operated an encrypted device company called ANOM, which was used to access organized crime networks in more than 100 countries. Europol, a law enforcement agency in the European Union..

“Operation Trojan Shield is a brilliant example of what can be achieved by working with law enforcement agencies around the world to develop state-of-the-art investigative tools to discover, destroy and dismantle cross-border criminal gangs. The FBI’s criminal investigation department at a press conference in Hague, the Netherlands.

At a press conference, Dutch National Police Jannine van den Berg said ANOM users believed the device was safe. Access to communications by people involved in the criminal network meant that law enforcement agencies were able to read encrypted messages for 18 months.

In addition to cocaine, the operation yielded 22 tonnes of marijuana, 2 tonnes of methamphetamine and amphetamine, and 250 firearms, US officials said.

“The global impact of this investigation is astounding,” Randy Grossman, Deputy Federal Attorney for the Southern District of California, told reporters in San Diego.

Platform users communicated in 45 languages ​​on trafficking and narcotics, weapons and explosives, armed robbery, murder contracts, and more, van der Berg said.

“I think what surprised us was how open they were about the plan,” FBI special agent Susanne Turner told reporters in San Diego. “To be exact, which car. Where did they come, what was the ship or the ship? They made the details very clear because they believed it was a secure communication. “

About three years ago, the Australian Federal Police began developing technology that would allow law enforcement agencies to access and read messages sent to the FBI’s secretly operated platform, Australian Federal Police Jennifer said. Commander Hurst said.

“The captured data provided AFP with evidence and unique insights into how organized crime works in Australia and internationally, how to move drugs, money, guns and organize murders. “

In addition to the arrest and seizure of drugs, weapons and money, Shields said the operation was able to mitigate more than 100 life-threatening threats. Access to their network also allowed law enforcement agencies to see pictures of hundreds of tonnes of cocaine hidden in the shipment of fruits and canned products.

Officials said criminal companies had reached a critical mass and triggered these mass arrests.

“This was an ideal time to withdraw it,” Turner said. “Based on the amount of crime being committed and the threat to life, we have determined that it is time to drive these criminals off the street.”

According to Keith Ditcham, senior researcher in organized crime and police activities at the London-based think tank RUSI, the scale of cooperation between so many different countries highlighted the operation.

“It’s not unheard of, but it’s rare,” he said. “There is a significant amount of adjustment required to be able to carry out operations that include all these and subtle differences in legislation and information gathering, and the authorities must make great efforts to prevent information leaks. There is “

He said the outcome of the operation and how it would affect organized crime groups in the future is not yet known.

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said at a press conference on Tuesday that the operation “has hit organized crime. It will resonate with organized crime not only in this country but around the world.”

Posted on