From frat house to jail house.
Interpol takes down Black Axe gang members.
An Interpol-led operation has resulted in the arrests of 75 alleged members of the Africa-based Black Axe crime organization, the Register reports. Two of the suspects arrested in South Africa are accused of stealing $1.8 million through online scams: “Codenamed Operation Jackal, the joint law enforcement effort mobilized 14 countries across four continents in a targeted strike against Black Axe and related West-African organized crime groups.”
Black Axe had become a global threat.
INTERPOL regards the operation as a major strike against transnational cybercrime.
“Operation Jackal marks the first time INTERPOL has coordinated a global operation specifically against Black Axe, which is rapidly becoming a major security threat worldwide.
“Black Axe and similar groups are responsible for the majority of the world’s cyber-enabled financial fraud as well as many other serious crimes, according to evidence analyzed by INTERPOL’s Financial Crime and Anti-Corruption Centre (IFCACC) and national law enforcement.”
Assets seized provided new leads.
Interpol added, “The immense quantity of assets seized, including 12,000 SIM cards, have provided new investigative leads for law enforcement, generating 13 analytical reports and allowing police to identify more than 70 additional suspects. The lavish lifestyles and greed of many suspects – allegedly paid for by defrauding members of the public of their savings and other criminal activities – was on clear display at the scenes of their arrest. Various luxury assets were seized, including a residential property, three cars and tens of thousands in cash.”
A criminal “confraternity.”
Black Axe has been a threat for several years. Harpers, in 2019, published an account of the group’s originally non-criminal origins at a Nigerian university and its evolution into a political movement and thence into a criminal gang with some of the coloration of a religious cult.