Huge global sting operation using an FBI app: 800 held

2021-06-09, 12:19pm error

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Global law enforcement officials have revealed a three-year operation in which they said they had intercepted over 20 million messages revealing criminal activities, such as a plan to ship cocaine from Ecuador to Belgium in cans of tuna. At least 800 people were arrested in more than a dozen countries.
The F.B.I., working with Australian police, recruited an informant to sell cellphones to crime syndicates. The phones had a hidden function that sent encrypted messages and photos.
Over three years, more than 12,000 devices were sold to crime rings operating in more than 100 countries. Users trusted the devices’ security so much that they often laid out their plans not in code, but in plain language.
A breakthrough came when one of the devices got into the hands of Joseph Hakan Ayik, an Australian the police believe has imported drugs from Turkey. Other people ensnared included Italian organized crime members and Australian motorcycle gangs. In Sweden, the police made 155 arrests and prevented the killing of 10 people thanks to the operation, the authorities said.
-    New York Times