According to the Australian police, a fugitive drug suspect was the driving force behind the newly rolled ANOM network of supposedly encrypted phones. It concerns Turkish-Australian Hakan Ayik, one of Australia‘s most wanted people.
Over the past few days, hundreds of suspected criminals have been arrested worldwide after using phones that make them feel safe. The devices, which only sent and received messages, were also read by police forces in different countries.
Undercover officers started selling the devices in the fall of 2018, and a breakthrough in the investigation came to the police when a cell phone came into the hands of Ayik, who then praised the device in his criminal network, not knowing he was helping the police.
“He was one of the distributors and basically trapped his colleagues,” Australian police commissioner Kershaw said. Ayik, who is typed as a criminal influencer, would also have earned the sale of the devices.
Ayik’s role is not underestimated, another police chief said in an interview with Australian newspapers. “He enjoyed confidence and used that position to sell these devices. It‘s a bit like Dwayne ‘The Rock‘ Johnson is praying a gym.”
Ayik’s word that the stuff was good led to the success of the operation, he says. “These devices have been in use everywhere. It‘s a bit like a pedigree, you can probably redirect all the devices back to him.”
Australia wants to prosecute 42-year-old Ayik for large-scale drug trafficking, but he has been able to stay out of police hands for over a decade. Kershaw: “If I were him, I would turn myself in. There’s probably a price on his head right now.”
Australian media revealed last weekend, just before news about the rolled network came out, that Ayik lives in Turkey. He would own a hotel in Istanbul and have two children with a Dutch woman.