FBI arrest hundreds in global sting that marketed, sold bogus encryption phones targeting criminals
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The FBI on Tuesday announced a “massive worldwide takedown” of criminals around the globe with a sting operation in which the agency marketed and sold smartphones purported to encrypt messages, leading to roughly 500 arrests.
The sting operation, called Operation Trojan Shield, was led the agency’s San Diego bureau.
FBI officials said in a press conference that the agency and other law enforcement groups worldwide, in an effort to nab criminals, created a fake company called ANØM to marketed the sleek black smartphones that were encrypted
However, when users sent messages, the phone would attach a master key that allowed law enforcement officials to decrypt and view the messages.
A “Confidential Human Source” worked with the FBI agreed to market the phones to distributors known to market such devices to known criminals, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.
“All they talk about is drugs, violence, hits on each other, innocent people going to be murdered,” said Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw, who worked on the operation with the FBI.
Colin Shivers, an assistant director in the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, said the phones allowed agents to see hundreds of tons of cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana and over $148 million in stolen currency.
Agents said they stopped over 100 threats to lives and made over 500 arrests around the world.
[VIDEO] Actress Jurnee Smollett Plays Race Card in Call to ‘Free Jussie’ — ‘Stop Locking Up Our People’
Jussie Smollett’s sister, actress Jurnee Smollett, is calling for Cook County to “#FreeJussie” following her brother’s sentencing Thursday, telling her followers they should advocate for his release — because of disparate incarceration between black and white Americans — even if they believe he is guilty.
Jurnee Smollett’s call for Cook County to “#FreeJussie” comes after her brother was sentenced to 150 days in jail for staging a fake hate crime against himself in January 2019.
“Black Americans are incarcerated in state prisons at nearly five times the rate of White Americans,” she wrote in her Instagram caption. “Jussie is innocent. And… you don’t have to believe in his innocence to believe he should be free.”
The actress included the hashtags “Free Jussie” and “Stop Locking Up Our People.”
In January 2019, Smollett had claimed he was physically attacked by two men wearing red hats who put a rope around his neck, poured bleach on him, and shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him, before eventually yelling, “This is MAGA country!” in reference to former President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan.
On Thursday, Judge James Linn sentenced Smollett to 150 days in jail, 30 months of probation, restitution of $120,106, and a fine of $25,000.
“You’re just a charlatan, pretending to be a victim of a hate crime,” Judge Linn told Smollett during Thursday’s sentencing, adding that the actor’s “very name has become an adverb for ‘lying.’”
“Your performance on the witness stand, this can only be described as pure perjury,” the judge added. “You committed hour upon hour upon hour of pure perjury.”
Smollett is now a convicted felon.
The actor repeatedly shouted, “I am not suicidal, and I am innocent” as he was being hauled off to jail on Thursday.
On Saturday, Smollett’s brother Jocqui Smollett reported that the actor has been placed in a psych ward at the Cook County jail.
Wisconsin Waiter Shot in the Face by Two Women After Forgetting Their Hamburger
Two women in Wisconsin have been charged with first-degree intentional homicide after shooting a restaurant server in the face after he forgot to bring one of the hamburgers they ordered.
Bryanna Johnson and Breanta Johnson, both 20 years old, were in a group of four at a George Webb restaurant in Wauwatosa. This group was being “impatient and rude”, according to one of the restaurant staff members.
One of the women in the group was even asked to leave, which she did but only for a brief period of time before returning to the establishment. Later, while the group of women was up by the register, one of them punched their 26-year-old server in the face, then proceeded to pull out a handgun and shot the victim in the face while he was lying on the ground.
The victim, who was, fortunately, able to survive the gunshot wound, told the police that the altercation was a result of the women’s order missing a hamburger. Apparently, that’s what this man’s life was worth to these women. A single hamburger.
Bryanna and Breanta Johnson’s bond is set at $100,000 and are scheduled to appear in court for preliminary hearings on February 15.
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