Three years ago, over a couple of beers, members of the AFP and FBI hatched a plan that on Monday night delivered one of the world's largest ever crime busts.
Worldwide, Operation Ironside has led to 800 criminals being arrested in 18 countries, the seizure of 32 tonnes of drugs, 250 firearms, 55 luxury cars, A$191 million in cash and cryptocurrencies, and the disruption of 21 murder plots in Australia alone.
Dig behind those mindboggling statistics, and the heavy blow the global sting has had on organised crime in 2021 is truly astronomical.
We're talking Italian mafia, outlaw motorcycle gangs, Asian crime syndicates, Albanian organised crime syndicates, Australia's most wanted Hakan Ayik, and even two Aussie reality TV stars who were among 224 Australian arrests.
Here's everything we know:
The idea: A couple of beers and 'criminal influencers'.
According to AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw, who addressed the media on Tuesday, the idea to plant a digital Trojan horse that would infiltrate criminal syndicates from the inside was thought up "over a couple of beers."
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had worked together to shut down a Canadian company that sold thousands of modified and encrypted smartphones to Australians so they could be used by criminals.
After shutting it down, they realised there was now a big gap in the market, and so the idea was hatched to fill that gap themselves.
Enter: AN0M. An encrypted messaging app created and manned by the FBI.
Watch: Commissioner Kershaw discusses AN0M. Post continues after video.