Bachelorette Contestant Caught in FBI's Fake Encrypted Phone Operation

Former Bachelorette Australia and Ninja Warrior contestants were among over two-hundred arrests in Australia connected to the Trojan Shield Operation.
June 10, 2021, 1:00pm
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Image: Channel 10/YouTube

Two former contestants from The Bachelorette Australia and Australian Ninja Warrior have been arrested in a series of raids connected to the FBI-led Trojan Shield Operation. 

Earlier this week, Motherboard reported on new court documents detailing how the FBI and other law enforcement agencies had managed to turn Anom—an encrypted phone company popular in the criminal underworld—into a honeypot, obtaining over 27 million messages. 

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So far, the operation has resulted in 800 criminal arrests globally, Europol announced Tuesday. In Australia alone more than 200 people have been arrested and 3.7 tonnes of drugs seized as part of the country’s national Operation Ironside, according to Australian Federal Police. 

One of those arrests was Samuel Minkin, a contestant on the sixth season of The Bachelorette Australia, which premiered in October of 2020. Minkin apparently didn’t make it very far in the show and was booted on the first episode, but returned to the public eye when he appeared in an advertisement for underwear with a kangaroo pouch. 

According to daily newspaper The Australian, Minkin was allegedly stopped by police while driving and found with 365 pounds of weed in vacuum-sealed bags. A court database shows that a hearing is set for Minkin next week. 

Meanwhile, the Australian media widely reported that Sopiea Kong, a contestant on Australian Ninja Warrior in 2017, was arrested last week during a police raid that allegedly found 154 grams of methamphetamine and a firearm without a serial number. She was charged with drug trafficking and possession. 

It is not yet clear how the intelligence gathered from Trojan Shield led to either Kong or Minkin’s arrests, and law enforcement have yet to allege any ties between them and organized crime groups. 

So far, arrests seem to have been largely targeted at the country’s organized crime groups, with Australian Federal Police alleging that “offenders linked to Australian-based Italian mafia, outlaw motorcycle gangs, Asian crime syndicate and Albanian organised crime are among those charged.” 

The Australian Federal Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.