Owner of Vancouver encryption company trafficked drugs, aided cartel, U.S. says

The owner of a Vancouver company that sells encrypted BlackBerrys popular with B.C. gangsters is facing charges in the U.S. of racketeering, conspiracy and drug trafficking.

Vincent Ramos, who started Phantom Secure in 2008, is even alleged in U.S. court documents to have sold his specialized devices to “some members of the (Mexican) Sinaloa (drug) cartel.”

Ramos, 41, was arrested in the U.S. on Wednesday, as police in Metro Vancouver raided his business and home.

U.S. court documents obtained by Postmedia allege he set up his company a decade ago specifically to help international drug trafficking organizations evade police and now has more than 20,000 of his encrypted devices circulating around the world.

“According to law enforcement sources in Australia, Canada and the United States, Phantom Secure devices are used by the upper echelon of various transnational criminal organizations to communicate with their criminal compatriots and conduct the illegal activities of the organization,” FBI special agent Nicholas Cheviron says in the court documents.

“These law enforcement sources all report that they are unaware of any law enforcement partner that has identified even a single legitimate Phantom Secure user.”

The documents said: “Phantom Secure’s devices and service were specifically designed to prevent law enforcement from intercepting and monitoring communication on the network, and every facet of Phantom Secure’s corporate structure was set up specifically to facilitate criminal activity and to impede, obstruct and evade law enforcement.”

B.C. corporate documents list Ramos as president and sole director of Phantom Secure.

The U.S. alleges Ramos, Phantom Secure and others whose names are blacked out engaged in “a pattern of racketeering activity involving gambling, money laundering and drug trafficking.”

And Ramos is also alleged to have “knowingly and intentionally conspired with other persons to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine.”

The investigation into the Vancouver company appears to date back to at least …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

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