FBI Scores a Major Sting Using Phones They Sold to Crime Networks
Jon Brodkin, writing at Ars Technica:
Europol noted that there is “a huge demand for encrypted communication platforms” among criminal networks but that the market for encrypted devices is “volatile.” Law-enforcement takedowns of the EncroChat encrypted platform in July 2020 and the Sky ECC communication service tool in March 2021 helped agencies steer criminals toward the FBI’s own encrypted devices
Clever stuff. I’m impressed how the FBI created both the supply of encrypted phones, and the demand for them by shutting down another encrypted messaging service favored by criminals.
The sheer volume of drugs and other illicit items seized is mind-boggling:
This culminated in a “series of large-scale law enforcement actions [that] were executed over the past days across 16 countries resulting in more than 700 house searches, more than 800 arrests and the seizure of over 8 tons of cocaine, 22 tons of cannabis and cannabis resin, 2 tons of synthetic drugs (amphetamine and methamphetamine), 6 tons of synthetic drugs precursors, 250 firearms, 55 luxury vehicles and over $48 million in various worldwide currencies and cryptocurrencies,” Europol wrote.
I hope they’ve got a few shelves in the back for it all.