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$148 million seized in global crackdown on organised crime

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$148 million seized in global crackdown on organised crime

Australian Federal Police and the FBI have smashed an industrial-scale drug trafficking ring in what’s being described as the plot of the century.

The audacious police sting targeted an encrypted communications app that was being secretly monitored by police, leading to hundreds of arrests of organised crime figures in 18 countries.

Mafia figures, bikies, South American drug cartels, Asian triads and Middle Eastern and European crime syndicates are alleged to be caught up in the sting.

Police said they uncovered 21 murder plots and seized more than 3,000 kilograms of drugs and $35 million in cash.

Over 800 suspected members of organised crime gangs were arrested and $148 million in cash seized in raids around the world. Tons of drugs were also seized, officials confirmed.

Police say they were using the trojan horse app ANOM that was operated by the FBI and secretly monitored by the Australian Federal Police.

The app was used by organised crime gangs around the world to plan executions, mass drug importations and money laundering.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the mass raids and arrests struck a heavy blow against organised crime.

The plan is said to have been hatched by an AFP tech guru in 2018, with the AFP planting pre-loaded mobile phones into the hands of criminals.

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Investigators intercepted 25 million messages sent on the ANOM, viewing the communications in real time.

300 search warrants were carried out across Australia on Monday night, with simultaneous stings in the US and Europe, according to reports from the ABC.

Police say they have exposed the secret relationships between bikies and syndicates who were thought to be enemies.

“This is a watershed moment in Australian law enforcement history”

SYDNEY:The Prime Minister was joined by Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews, AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw and FBI Legal Attaché US Embassy Anthony Russo to speak on ‘Operation Ironside’, a three-year sting involving the FBI, organised crime and an encrypted app.

PRIME MINISTER SCOTT MORRISON

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the operation had “struck a heavy blow against organised crime. Not just in this country, but one that will echo around organised crime around the world”.

“We have never taken our eye a day from the threats presented in this country”

Morrison has reiterated calls for stronger border security and anti-encryption laws off the back of Operation “Ironside.”

“The most significant policing operation in Australian history”

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews called Operation Ironside “the most significant policing operation in Australian history”.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews

Worldwide, 9000 law enforcement officials were involved in the operation, with over 4500 of those officials being Australian Federal Police.

Commissioner Kershaw said federal agents had been in the “back pockets” of criminals through the encryption app. 

Commissioner Kershaw said federal agents have arrested some “of the most dangerous criminals in Australia”

Commissioner Kershaw on the criminal arrests.

Commissioner Kershaw said criminal gangs are targeting Australia because “it’s one of the most profitable countries in the world to sell drugs.”

Commissioner Kershaw confirmed criminal “kingmakers” have been arrested and AFP have prevented mass shootings.

The plan that began over beers

“Some of the best ideas come over a couple of beers,” AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw said in his address to media on Tuesday.

“The FBI had the lead on this. We provided the technical capability to decrypt those messages,”

AFP Commissioner Kershaw.

The FBI’s representative Anthony Russo says he’s proud to represent the US and stand with his Australian colleagues.

Legal Attaché US Embassy Anthony Russo

“In today’s world, crime continues to transverse international borders. The threats we face are too diverse and too complex for any one organisation to tackle alone,”

Russo said.

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TikTok implements stricter guidelines on weight-loss drug promotion

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TikTok is tightening its regulations on influencers who promote weight-loss drugs like Ozempic.

With over 170 million users in the US, the app aims to prevent the spread of potentially harmful content related to rapid weight loss.

Starting in May, TikTok will prohibit influencers from posting “before-and-after” photos and restrict minors from accessing weight-loss content deemed risky. The crackdown extends to any content promoting drastic weight loss methods, aiming to combat the promotion of unrealistic body standards.

However, some influencers, like Dave Knapp and Kim Carlos, criticise the move, arguing it discriminates against those with health conditions. Others fear losing their income as TikTok takes down their content, prompting concerns about the platform’s future amid potential US bans.

As TikTok enforces stricter guidelines, influencers may seek alternative platforms to share weight-loss content. Despite the popularity of drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy, the crackdown reflects growing concerns about the impact of such promotions on user health.

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Game on with indie devs celebrated by Nintendo

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Nintendo Switch fans rejoice! The recent Indie World Showcase unveiled 17 new titles coming in 2024.

Including in the rundown is the adorable “Little Kitty, Big City” and explosive platformer “Anton Blast.” In other news, “Stellar Blade” confirms an uncensored release on PlayStation 5, Fallout’s TV adaptation gears up for Season 2, and Keanu Reeves joins the cast of Sonic 3 as Shadow. New releases this week include “Tales of Kenzera: Zau” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants,” while “Fallout 4” gets a next-gen update. With “Stellar Blade” topping the list, gamers have plenty to look forward to in the coming weeks.

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What are the major takeaways from day one of Trump’s trial?

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The first day of Donald Trump’s criminal hush money trial that the former president broke the law and corrupted the 2016 election, while his defence lawyer said he committed no crime.

On this episode of Ticker Today – Former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial is officially underway, President Joe Biden makes cannibal claims, TikTok US ban enters the next phase and Gen Z’s are dropping degrees and picking up tools to become blue-collar workers.

Ticker’s Ahron Young and Veronica Dudo discuss.

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