INTERPOL has arrested over 70 suspected members of the ‘Black Axe’ cybercrime syndicate, with two believed to be responsible for $1.8 million in financial fraud.
The suspects were arrested as part of ‘Operation Jackal,’ an international law enforcement operation between September 26 and 30, 2022, in South Africa.
Black Axe was founded in 1977 in Nigeria and is considered one of the world’s most far-reaching and dangerous crime syndicates.
The crime syndicate first became involved with cybercrime in 2015, suspected of orchestrating numerous romance and “419 scams.”
“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,” explains INTERPOL’s statement on the operation.
These financial gains are reflected in the assets seized by law enforcement during the raids, including tens of thousands of USD in cash, expensive cars, luxury items, and 12,000 mobile SIM cards.
By analyzing the seized evidence, the police could freeze €1,200,000 in the suspects’ bank accounts, identify and arrest another 75 individuals, and conduct 49 targeted property searches.
The arrests yielded 13 analytical reports, seven INTERPOL “purple notices” to detail the modus operandi of the criminals, and six INTERPOL “red notices” targeting internationally-wanted fugitives.
Interpol also highlights the success of its new anti-money laundering rapid response protocol mechanism (ARRP), which was deployed for the first time in ‘Operation Jackal.’
“The ARRP is a game-changer in the fight against global financial crime, where speed and international cooperation are crucial to intercepting illicit funds before they disappear into the pockets of money mules abroad,” said Rory Corcoran, Director of IFCACC.
“INTERPOL’s Global Financial Crime Task Force has shown remarkable effectiveness in disrupting illicit financial flows, bringing together cyber and finance experts across sectors to track and cut off criminal money trails.”
Last month, INTERPOL dismantled a sextortion ring operating from Singapore and Hong Kong, arresting 12 suspects for further investigation.
In June, the international police force seized $50 million and arrested thousands suspected of participating in business email compromise (BEC) scams.
In May, INTERPOL traced down three Nigerians in Lagos suspected of deploying remote access trojans (RATs) to steal account credentials and reroute financial transactions.