The chief executive of a company that created highly-secure smartphones allegedly used by some of the world’s most notorious criminals has been indicted.
Canadian-based Phantom Secure made “tens of millions of dollars” selling the modified Blackberry devices for use by the likes of the Sinaloa Cartel, investigators said.
The charges marked the first time US authorities have targeted a company for knowingly making encrypted technology for criminals.
The Department of Justice arrested Vincent Ramos in Seattle last week. He was indicted on Thursday along with four associates.
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They are charged with racketeering and conspiracy to aid the distribution of drugs. Both crimes have a maximum penalty of life in prison. Mr Ramos is the only one of the group currently in custody.
“This organisation Phantom Secure was designed to facilitate international drug trafficking all throughout the entire world,” US attorney Adam Braverman told the BBC.
“The difference is this company was specifically-designed to aid international drug trafficking organisations,” and new customers needed a referral from an existing customer. A six-month subscription cost $2,000-$3,000, easily affordable by their target customers.
The only surprising thing is that it took this long to create the business.
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