Over 800 criminals held in a huge global sting involving encrypted phones that were secretly planted by the FBI, law enforcement agencies informed on Tuesday.
Officers were able to read the messages of global underworld figures in around 100 countries as they plotted drug deals, arms transfers and gangland hits on the compromised ANOM devices.
The evidence from "Operation Trojan Shield" prevented around 100 murders and foiled several large-scale drug shipments, said officials from the FBI. "The results are staggering," FBI Assistant Director Calvin Shivers said.
"More than 800 arrests, more than 700 locations searched, more than 8 tonnes of cocaine."
He said the FBI had provided criminal syndicates in over 100 countries with the devices over the last 18 months "that allowed us to monitor their communications."
Meanwhile, police in New Zealand seized methamphetamine, firearms, and millions of dollars in cash and assets during the operation.