The genius tactic used by police to catch hundreds of heavyweight criminals
A genius tactic from police has led to a massive crime bust overnight, with 4000 police storming homes executing hundreds of search warrants across the country.
The bust is the largest blow ever on organised crime in the Southern Hemisphere and has unearthed drug importations and distribution, planned assaults, kidnappings, murder plots and extortion.
Australian Federal Police and the FBI worked together on an encrypted messaging platform known as AN0M, which they got into the hands of underworld figures.
What the criminals didn’t know was the system was being run by the FBI and monitored by the AFP.
More than 11,000 criminals across the globe, including 1650 in Australia, were using the app under the belief it was encrypting their messages.
“For three years, the AFP in Canberra were listening and reading 25 million messages sent,” national investigations editor for News Corp Australia, Ellen Whinnett, who broke the story, told Ross and Russel.
Overnight, the operation in Australia culminated in 336 search warrants executed by 4000 officers and more than 100 charged.
About 20 Comancheros members and associates in Melbourne were among those nabbed.
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Head of strategic police and law enforcement programs at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Dr John Coyne, says the bust is “a world beater”.
“These are everyday people; lawyers, accountants … who are moving this junk into our country,” he told Neil Mitchell.
“This is a game changer in organised crime in Australia in our understanding as well.”
Dr Coyne says the bust will reduce the supply of illicit drugs and drive up price, but the effects won’t last long.
“These people will be replaced in a relatively short period of time,” he said.
“If price does rise it’ll become an even more attractive market.”
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