Anomaly Procedure: Phone Assassination

aWhen investigators searched dozens of apartments in Hesse a year ago in June, drug smuggling in the Rhine-Main region stopped for at least a day. Operation Trojan Shield is still considered the biggest blow in the war against organized crime. Even a year later, the data collected by FBI investigators over the course of months sounds like fiction: For the first time, it was possible to hear communications between members of criminal gangs on a large scale by imposing cell phones made in the underworld.

Catherine Alexander

Editor-in-chief for the “Rain Mine” section of the Sunday newspaper.

In most cases, the conversations investigators have overheard since then have revolved around the logistics of drug smuggling. The question of whether delivery times can be met. How will it be delivered. and whether there are bottlenecks or other difficulties that need to be resolved. This also included forcing people who did not follow the rules to cooperate through violence – including targeted killing in order to “punish” someone. Criminals only spoke to each other frankly because they thought their communications were encrypted. But the encrypted cell phone provider “Anom” is the name that was betrayed in the process: a Trojan.

The Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) and the Public Prosecutor’s Office together with the Central Office for Combating Cybercrime (ZIT) have now presented a balance sheet for the first time, which shows the impact of FBI actions on German criminals. prosecution. With impressive numbers. Because the Anom process showed something else: the majority of German users of the encrypted provider were active in Hesse, more specifically in the Rhine-Main region. Since March 2021, the Federal Criminal Police Office and the Public Prosecutor’s Office have been investigating persons suspected of committing the most serious crimes in the field of organized crime. Accordingly, data from about 2,700 users with “Germany reference” was identified and sent to the central office.

More than 280 preliminary investigations have been initiated across the country

“In all cases, ‘Anom’ was used as a communication channel for coordinating criminal activities – from international drug and weapon smuggling to murders, according to a statement from the Federal Criminal Police Office and the Public Prosecutor’s Office. In the conversations, for example, “open communication was made about Planning and Executing Crimes.” The authorities had received information about localities, price agreements, ways of working, and many photos of traded goods.

Investigators describe comprehensive data assessment and processing as a particular challenge. The Federal Criminal Police Office has created a special investigation team that includes not only investigators, but also experts in digital tracking and to assess the work of mass data.

According to the information, more than 280 investigations have been opened throughout the country. In more than 90 cases, suspects were arrested and apartments searched. More than 140 arrest warrants have been executed. In addition to drugs, investigators also obtained a wealth of evidence, including nearly 1,300 kilograms of hashish, more than 1,500 kilograms of synthetic drugs, four kilograms of heroin, and 20 kilograms of cocaine. In addition, the investigators found five laboratories for the production of drugs. During the searches, more than 50 firearms and 2,400 rounds of ammunition were confiscated and assets worth 1.8 million euros were secured. The balance sheet is only preliminary, the authorities announced. Because evaluation in the federal states is still ongoing.

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