FBI uses ANOM messaging app to trick criminals, dealing "heavy blow against organized crime"

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fairly difficult
800 arrests, 8 tons of cocaine seized and alleged murders thwarted in global operation enabled by criminal gangs discussing their actions on app secretly run by FBI.
Wellington, New Zealand — Authorities in Australia, New Zealand and Europe said Tuesday they've dealt a huge blow to organized crime after hundreds of criminals were tricked into using a messaging app that was being secretly run by the FBI. Police said criminal gangs thought the encrypted app called ANOM was safe from snooping when, in fact, authorities for months had been monitoring millions of messages about drug smuggling, money laundering and even planned killings.

The app was part of a worldwide sting called operation Trojan Shield, which was led by the FBI and involved the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the European Union police agency Europol and law enforcement agencies in more than a dozen countries.

"The results are staggering," FBI Assistant Director Calvin Shivers said Tuesday morning at Europol's headquarters in The Netherlands.

Google Pixel smart phones confiscated by New Zealand Police during arrests and seizures carried out as part of the international Trojan Shield law enforcement operation. New Zealand Police handout via Reuters

The French news agency AFP quoted Shivers as saying the FBI had provided criminal groups in more than 100 different countries with about 12,000 devices containing the ANOM app over almost two years, allowing agents to "monitor their communications."

Europol said police from a total of 16 countries had carried out raids sparked by evidence from the FBI-monitored smart phones.

"This information led over the last week to hundreds of law enforcement operations on a global scale from New Zealand to Australia…
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