Say what you will about the FBI but if you don’t rise and shine earlier than them they’ll fool ‘ya. The interesting thing is how their tactics are generally not cleverly masterminded schemes, they just know how to keep their mouths shut while they operate under a blanket of darkness. And man oh man did they just pull off something huge.
Criminal gangs don’t communicate via cell phones. At least not verbally. They prefer using messaging apps which are far more private and secure, and certain ones are encrypted for even greater privacy. So the FBI went with the first plan that came to mind and developed their own encrypted messaging app. Only nobody knew who was behind it.
The FBI had no interest in pursuing local yokels. They went straight to the worldwide arena searching specifically for international drug syndicates that were exporting their illegal goods to the U.S. And they snagged the multiple granddaddies of them all.
Sure enough, with time and patience, some higher-ups from one of the largest organized global drug rings in the world started chatting. They skipped all of the frivolities and got straight down to the business of laying out shipping details. But they didn’t stop there.
A list with the names of people who had either crossed them or were making the operation of their business increasingly more difficult was exchanged. It was a kill list to be disseminated to their independent contractor list of global hitmen. As a result of this conversation and others, the FBI said global organized crime suffered an “unprecedented blow.”
Appropriately called Operation Trojan Shield, the FBI’s diligence led to police raids in 16 countries and the subsequent arrest of more than 800 of the hardest criminal element on the planet. Over 32-tons of drugs were seized, including cocaine, marijuana, amphetamines, methamphetamines, uppers, downers, and sideway turners.
They also hit the jackpot by confiscating 250 weapons, 55 luxury vehicles, and the trifecta winner, over $148 million in cold hard cash and various cryptocurrencies.
The idea for creating the app came about after law enforcement discovered and shut down the two main encrypted platforms being used by worldwide gangs, EncroChat and Sky ECC. These are where international drug trading took place and where killers-for-hire received their assignments. The encryption is what kept agents from hacking the site.
Knowing how the underworld would immediately start searching for a new communication platform, the FBI launched ANOM, an app they then installed on hundreds of mobile “modified” phones. It too was encrypted, only this time they had the key.
Via the agencies’ worldwide network of contacts, they somehow managed through middlemen who were clueless, to place these baited phones into the hands of over 300 separate gangs in over 100 countries. They then grabbed a seat, read the messages, relayed the information to the appropriate agency in the appropriate country, and smiled with pride as they watched their well-calculated plan fall into its anticipated place. There’s a good movie in this one.
The entire plan was carried out from a secret location in The Hauge, Netherlands. Assistant Director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, Calvin Shivers, said the operation “enabled us to prevent murders. It led to the seizure of drugs that led to the seizure of weapons. And it helped prevent a number of crimes.”
The FBI was able to recruit the help of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Europol along with law enforcement agencies in various nations. Dutch National Police Chief Constable Jannine van den Berg summed things up in only a few words by saying the operation dealt “an unprecedented blow to criminal networks, and this is worldwide.”
Unlike other organizations, the FBI doesn’t seek accolades for a job well done, and likewise, they seldom receive them. Were it not for their shadowy James Bond-ish type movement, they would never have achieved the likes of what they just accomplished.
So. If you for any number of reasons ever start thinking the FBI is slacking on the job, that’s good. It means they are on the job. Think about that and get back to us…