Inside the Firm: How an international drug cartel plotted a ‘line to Australia’

Save articles for later

Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.

The inner workings of a Swedish kingpin’s crime empire have leaked onto the internet, revealing a plan to target Australia’s insatiable drug market to make them rich beyond measure.

The unprecedented glimpse inside transnational drug crime and the AN0M network comes on the eve of a court case that could decide dozens of prosecutions in NSW.

Police allege accused Swedish drug lord, Maximilian Rivkin, boasted about his links to Australia with fellow members of The Firm cartel.Credit: Swedish Police Authority

“I have a line to Australia,” Sweden’s Maximilian Rivkin allegedly wrote in an encrypted chat in mid-2020.

“I am now with the biggest people in the world.”

Earlier this year Rivkin was accused, alongside multiple Australians, of being one of the driving forces behind the spread of the encrypted app of choice for serious criminals – the AN0M network.

A US indictment, released by a California court, alleges AN0M’s purpose was to facilitate and protect the global drug trade.

But it was all a trojan horse designed by the FBI and monitored by agencies including the Australian Federal Police.

At about the time Rivkin and the Australians were accused in the US court, Swedish police files were dumped online containing thousands of pages of AN0M chats.

The files, verified by The Herald, allege Rivkin was one of four directors of a Swedish amphetamine cartel called the Firm.

The documents also suggest Rivkin intended to use his connections to expand the Firm’s territory to take advantage of Australia’s sky-high drug prices.

An AN0M chat allegedly showing Rivkin (user 56d3f9) talking about his plans for the Firm to expand into Australia.Credit: Swedish Police Authority

The Firm

“Through conversations on the encrypted platform AN0M, it appears that people in the report form the core of a group that, for a long time, conducted extensive drug crime,” one of the Swedish translated police files begins.

The precise origin of the Firm is not made out in the court files but, in just a few months, it allegedly produced more than half a tonne of amphetamine.

To accomplish their goal, the court documents allege, the Firm transformed a cosy Swedish home into an industrial lab and began shipping drugs around Europe from July 2020.

Pictures shared on AN0M appear to show trays upon trays of amphetamines drying in the lab, drugs in car boots and maps used by drug couriers.

“(The Firm’s leaders) organised extensive amphetamine trafficking in Sweden and also the rest of the world,” the translated documents read.

Staying off the grid

From the beginning, in mid-2020, the Firm was highly secretive.

The house chosen as a drug lab was small and unremarkable, in the lakeside village of Olshammar more than three hours from the capital Stockholm.

A home allegedly converted to an industrial amphetamine lab in the tiny Swedish village of Olshammer. Credit: Swedish Police Authority

Meanwhile, Rivkin allegedly pushed directors and subordinates to message using AN0M.

Before any drugs left Olshammar, according to one series of messages, Rivkin organised for 10 phones to be sent to the Firm in July 2020.

He maintained his enthusiasm for AN0M until the final kilo left the lab in December 2020, police allege.

That month a WhatsApp user called “Anom Goteborg” sent a selfie from his dimly lit office.

Rivkin in his office in December 2020. Police allege he was a major “influencer and administrator” of the AN0M network.Credit: Swedish Police Authority

The bearded man in the picture smiles confidently, flashing a gold watch and a thumbs-up.

Behind him is a giant AN0M logo, illuminated on the wall with the words “enforce your right to privacy” below.

Another image of a Swedish licence, sent in the chat, suggests Anom Gothenburg was Rivkin.

“Hold AN0M tight, it will be the next big thing,” Rivkin told his contact.

AN0M chats allegedly showing Rivkin (aee441) asking a drug cook to show him amphetamine bricks from the lab. Credit: Swedish Police Authority

Six months later the world learned AN0M was a masterful deception by law enforcement. But by then the Firm had communicated endlessly on the platform.

“Seneca please take nice pictures with anom this new phone so I can see the bricks and nice presentation,” Rivkin allegedly wrote to the head cook in July 2020.

Seneca replied with an image of vacuum sealed white bricks.

The drug lab as pictured by police during the raid in Olshammar.Credit: Swedish Police Authority

Looking south

By October 2020, the Firm was allegedly dividing up cash and discussing security.

They spoke about using amphetamine to trade for Glock pistols, a Kalashnikov machine gun and grenades, the documents allege.

Hakan Ayik

The documents claim in December 2020, as the Firm completed its final batch, Rivkin told the group that Australians would pay 160,000 Swedish Kroner per kilogram for drugs – six times the amount they were making in Europe. He floated the idea of manufacturing methamphetamine, the documents claim.

“I will give you space for Australia,” Rivkin allegedly wrote.

“If you can manufacture the meth, we won’t know what to do with all the money :)”

Police sources believe Rivkin’s line to Australia was AN0M’s number one influencer and Australia’s most wanted man: Hakan Ayik.

In the US court case, the Kogarah-born Ayik and Rivkin are both alleged to be the top “administrators and influencers” in the AN0M network.

They both allegedly spread the fake encrypted software through the criminal community.

At the time of the court case, both were believed to be living in the same region of Turkey, and both remain on the run.

NSW court to rule on AN0M

Dozens of accused AN0M users were arrested in NSW when the Australian Federal Police carried out a massive raid in June 2021.

Many of them have joined a challenge against the legality of the AN0M intercepts.

Prosecutors are hoping the NSW courts reach a similar conclusion to the South Australian Supreme Court which, earlier this month, ruled the AN0M evidence was legally obtained.

The first tranche of the NSW hearings will start on Monday in Sydney.

The Morning Edition newsletter is our guide to the day’s most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Sign up here.

Most Viewed in National

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article