Made messaging app leads to global organized-crime sting

Multiple arrests were made in a police operation across Adelaide

What's been described as Australia's biggest-ever police bust has resulted in mass arrests of criminals ranging from alleged mafia bosses and bikies to local reality stars.

"Criminal groups using encrypted communications to thwart law enforcement should no longer feel safe in that space", FBI San Diego Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jamie Arnold said in a news release about the operation.

Bags of evidence were taken from an Adelaide property.

"Today, the Australian government, as part of a global operation, has struck a heavy blow against organised crime", Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters.

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

More than 800 suspected gangsters and $ 148 million in cash have been confiscated in raids around the world, along with large amounts of drugs, cryptocurrencies, weapons and luxury cars. 'Operation Trojan Shield/Greenlight will enable Europol to further enhance the intelligence picture on organised crime affecting the European Union ... and will support the continued effort in identifying operating high-value criminal targets on a global scale, ' Europol said.

AFP has also responded to 20 murder threats and could save the lives of a significant number of innocent bystanders. There were still outstanding arrests to be made, National Organised Crime Group director Detective Superintendent Greg Williams said.

"We have been in the back pockets of organised crime", Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw said.

'We were able to turn the tables and access the communications of criminal organisations which operate worldwide, ' Shivers said.

"They are nearly certainly using these encrypted platforms to flood Australia with drugs and guns and undermine our economy by washing billions of dollars of illicit profits".

"Operation Trojan Shield is a shining example of what can be accomplished when worldwide law enforcement partners from around the world work together and develop state-of-the-art investigative tools to detect, disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal organisations", he said at a news conference in The Hague.

The encrypted communications, which are said to have included killing plans, mass drug trafficking, and gun distribution, were cracked from a platform secretly operated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. More arrests are expected.

The operation known as Trojan Shield led to police raids in 16 nations.

The FBI gained access to the AN0M app in 2018, and started running it clandestinely, installed on Google Android devices that criminals sold to each other. The software would only run on smartphones specially modified so that they could not make calls nor send emails. I was only able to send a message to another device with an organized crime app.

Australian authorities helped get these phones in die To give hands to "influential" criminals, including a fugitive Australian drug gang leader in Turkey to gain confidence.

The Trojan Shield/Greenlight operation was built around the ANOM app, which authorities placed on devices and then distributed among the criminal underworld.

"We allege they've been trafficking illicit drugs into Australia at an industrial scale", Kershaw said regarding the gangs.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said the operation had been carefully planned with global law enforcement bodies.

FBI International Operations Division legal attaché for Australia Anthony Russo offered similar comments, saying: "Criminals should be on notice that law enforcement are resolute to continue to evolve our capabilities".

The FBI says law enforcement agencies worked together to supply "more than 12,000 devices to hundreds of criminal organizations that operate around the globe".



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