More than 800 suspects have been arrested, 32 tonnes of drugs seized and $ 148 million confiscated in a massive worldwide organized crime investigation, law enforcement officials said Tuesday.
The Trojan Shield operation involves police raids in 16 countries that also confiscated 250 firearms and 55 luxury cars, officials announced at a news conference in The Hague.
National Police Chief Jannine van den Berg said the operation was an unprecedented blow to criminal networks, and it is worldwide. ‘
Calvin Shivers, assistant director of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s criminal investigation arm, said Operation Trojan Shield “is a shining example of what can be achieved when international law enforcement partners from around the world work together and develop the state of the world.” compile investigative tools to detect, disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal organizations. “
The key to the investigation was the ability of law enforcement agencies to listen to the suspects’ plans, officials said.
Law enforcement agencies have taken down two encrypted platforms, EncroChat and Sky ECC, which use crime syndicates. Authorities said criminal gangs were trading in drugs that required new secure phones, which the FBI provided with an app called ANOM installed on modified cell phones.
Over the past 18 months, the FBI has distributed the encrypted phones with the ANOM app, which the suspects say is safe to use, to more than 300 crime gangs operating in 100 countries, enabling authorities to monitor their drug shipments and other plans. to monitor.
“There was a void created by a lack of these encrypted platforms,” Shivers said. “It has created an opportunity for collaboration with our international partners, to not only develop the specific tool, but also to develop the process of gathering the intelligence and spreading the intelligence.”
Operation Trojan Shield was led by the FBI, but included the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the European Union police agency Europol, and law enforcement agencies in more than a dozen countries.
In Australia alone, authorities said they arrested 224 people while seizing more than four tonnes of drugs and $ 35 million in a three-year investigation.
“Today, the Australian Government, as part of a global operation, has struck a heavy blow against organized crime,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. “Not just in this country, but also a version of organized crime around the world.”