Selling BlackBerry super-encryption for criminals, the company's CEO was sentenced to 9 years in prison and fined 80 million USD - Photo 1.
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Selling super-encrypted phones for criminals, the company's CEO was sentenced to 9 years in prison and fined 80 million USD


CEO of a company specializing in providing encrypted phones for criminal organizations, has just been sentenced to 9 years in prison, in a trial in San Diego on Tuesday. The company's customers are criminal organizations with blood on their faces, the most notorious of which is the Sinaloa Cartel – the world's most powerful drug dealer.

Vincent Ramos, a 41-year-old Canadian citizen, was convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud and was fined $ 80 million as well as many bank accounts, cryptocurrency accounts, gold coins and other real estate. His company, Phantom Secure, was knocked out by cooperation between Australian, Canadian and US intelligence agencies.

The phones are not intrusive

The Secure Phantom is part of an exciting activity aimed at providing customized encrypted phones for criminal organizations. Typically, these devices – either running on Android or BlackBerry – will remove the microphone and GPS, as well as rely on end-to-end encrypted chat programs only, making it difficult for investigating agencies. in intervening and blocking messages of criminals.

The Secure Phantom sells its products as complete security solution packages and cannot be hacked or hacked by third parties. These Android or BlackBerry phones will then be used to support criminal activities, mainly drug trafficking.

Selling BlackBerry super-encryption for criminals, the company's CEO was sentenced to 9 years in prison and fined 80 million USD - Photo 2.

Advertising of Secure Phantom for your super-encrypted phone.

Law enforcement agencies estimate that, at the time of Ramos's arrest, about 7,000 such phones were used by the underworld. The Press Office's press release said the amount of drugs shipped by the help of Ramos and his equipment "so high that it can't be calculated. "

For example, a drug transporter named Owen Hanson, also known as "O-Dog" uses six Phatom Secure phones to coordinate the transportation of a ton of cocaine out of Mexico. USA, Canada and Australia. Hanson was later arrested and sentenced to 21 years in prison in 2017.

An investigator had to use another cover to infiltrate Ramos' criminal organization in Las Vegas. Here, investigators recorded a conversation, in which Ramos admitted that the devices were manufactured for the purpose of organized crime. "We did it – we also made it dedicated to transporting this drug, "Ramos told the investigator while in the cover.

According to court documents, Ramos once texted one of his subordinates, letting them buy him a Range Rover because he was new. "won many deals. Right this week. That Sinaloa Cartel, that's great. "

Among the prominent Phantom Secure customers are the names: The.Cartel, Leadslinger, The.killa, Elchapo66, Trigger-happy and Knee-capper9. The Phantom also uses servers in Hong Kong to evade the law enforcement agencies that discover it, and there are a variety of web domains to act as message resolution.

Selling BlackBerry super-encryption for criminals, the company's CEO was sentenced to 9 years in prison and fined 80 million USD - Photo 3.

There are still many other names involved in this market

According to a press release from the Southern California District Attorney's Office, this is the first time the US has targeted a company and its leadership team because "deliberately providing encryption infrastructure for transnational criminal organizations to carry out the import and distribution of narcotic substances."

In his statement, attorney Robert Brewer said: "Vincent Ramos will be jailed because he provides violent drug transport organizations with a high-tech tool so they can coordinate with other criminals and remain in the dark.. "

Although this is the first time the US government has taken down a company that offers encrypted phones, Phantom Secure is not the only company in the industry targeted by global authorities. Dutch police also made similar arrests with such companies, including Ennetcom and PGP Safe. Both companies are accused of selling their equipment to criminals, and Ennetcom also facilitates robbery and assassination.

In addition, many other companies also provide phones for criminal organizations that are still active, such as the Encrochat, which supplies equipment for drug gangs in the UK.

Refer to Motherboard


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