CANBERRA, June 8 (Reuters) – Australian police have arrested more than 200 people involved in organized crime after infiltrating an encrypted messaging app that opened nearly 25 million messages about “industrial-scale drug imports “and murder plots, officials said on Tuesday.

By Colin Packham

They said the joint operation between Australia and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, which began in 2018, trapped criminals in Australia, Asia, South America and the Middle East. involved in the global drug trade.

”Dealt a serious blow to organized crime – not just in this country, but one that will echo around organized crime around the world. It is a defining moment in the history of Australian law enforcement, ”Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Sydney.

Australia did not detail any arrests in other countries, but said Interpol and the FBI would hold press conferences later on Tuesday.

The plan, which was devised by Australian law officers and the FBI in 2018, saw US officials take control of a messaging app called ANOM, which authorities said was popular with organized criminals.

When an Australian underworld figure began distributing the app to his associates as a secure means of communication, law enforcement authorities were able to monitor all of their messages.

“We have been in the back pockets of organized crime,” Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw told reporters at the same press briefing.

“All they talk about is drugs, violence, beatings against each other, innocent people who are going to be murdered.”

Kershaw said a murder plot involved plans to target a cafe with a machine gun, while a family of five was also targeted. Authorities said they were able to prevent the attacks.

A total of 224 people were arrested on Monday and 104 firearms seized along with nearly A $ 45 million ($ 34.9 million) in cash.

A total of 525 charges have already been laid, but authorities are expecting more in the coming weeks. ($ 1 = 1.2893 Australian dollars) (Report by Colin Packham and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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This notice was published: 2021-06-08 03:02:09


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