Law enforcement officers from the EU, Australia and the United States conducted one of the largest operations to date against organized crime and seized $ 48 million worth of crypto assets and fiat currencies.
According to a Europol press release, the joint law enforcement operation of several countries was part of a three-year criminal investigation involving the tracking of 27 million messages on an encrypted messaging platform. Since 2019, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in collaboration with the Australian Federal Police, has developed and covertly operated ANOM.
The company has served over 12,000 encrypted devices for 300 crime syndicates operating in over 100 countries. The platform also involved Italian organized crime and international drug trafficking organizations. Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw said:
“There is little that unites law enforcement agencies like bringing to justice those who are trying to harm our citizens. The FBI provided an encrypted messaging platform, while Australia provided technical capabilities that helped expose some of the world’s biggest criminals. ”
The platform’s goal was to counter global organized crime, drug trafficking and money laundering by offering encrypted devices with the functions that organized crime networks require.
Of the 27 million messages sent by ANOM devices, more than 450,000 were sent by criminals, according to documents from the Southern California District Court. The messages gave law enforcement a glimpse of conversations on other platforms that discussed criminal activity, cryptocurrency transactions, massive cash smuggling, law enforcement corruption, and self-identification information.
Law enforcement was able to collect evidence over an 18-month period before embarking on Operation Trojan Shield / OTF Greenlight. The operation involved a series of large-scale law enforcement activities carried out over several days in several jurisdictions. The FBI conducted the operation along with the Netherlands National Police, the Swedish Police Department, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and sixteen other agencies.
Police raids took place in Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. During more than 700 searches, 800 people from more than 300 criminal groups were arrested, eight tons of cocaine, twenty-two tons of cannabis and cannabis resin, and two tons of amphetamine and methamphetamine were seized.
In addition, 250 firearms, 55 luxury vehicles and more than $ 48 million in various fiat currencies and cryptoassets were seized. DEA Deputy Chief of Operations Matthew Donahue said:
“Operations Trojan Shield and Operation Greenlight not only show how transnational criminal organizations continue to use encrypted communication services for illicit gain, but they also demonstrate law enforcement’s commitment to developing innovative strategies to counter these activities.”
Recall that at the end of last year, as part of a joint operation of several countries, the large darknet market Sipulimarket was closed, and its assets were confiscated by the Finnish customs in cooperation with Europol and the Polish police.