Vince Ramos wanted Phantom Secure to be the Uber of privacy-focused, luxury-branded phones—flood the market with devices, and sort out the law later. Then the FBI investigated him.
A document obtained by Motherboard provides more detail on the malware law enforcement deployed against Encrochat devices.
The FBI wanted a backdoor in Phantom Secure, an encrypted phone company that sold to members of the Sinaloa cartel, and which is linked to the alleged leaking of sensitive law enforcement information in Canada.
Vincent Ramos was sentenced to nine years and forfeited more than $80 million for providing criminal organizations with encrypted devices.
Phantom Secure made custom, encrypted BlackBerry phones and sold them to customers all over the world, including to the Sinaloa cartel, according to prosecutors.
Earlier this month, the FBI arrested the CEO of Phantom Secure, a company allegedly providing encrypted phones to organized crime. Now, those in the secure device supply chain are trying to push criminals out.
Authorities have already arrested Vincent Ramos, Phantom Secure’s CEO. But the Department of Justice has indicted four other alleged Phantom associates, who are currently fugitives.
For years, the oft-overlooked secure phone industry, sometimes linked to organized crime, has been pushing its wares on Instagram, with one account linked to Phantom Secure posting images of weapons, drugs, and bundles of cash.
Phantom Secure is one of the most infamous companies in the secure phone industry. Sources and court documents detail that its owner has been arrested for allegedly helping criminal organizations.