BlackBerry Is Smartphone of Choice for Alleged Italian Crime Syndicate

PHOTO: A Secusmart security card, center, sits with a BlackBerry 10 mobile device in this arranged photograph on day three of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Feb. 26, 2014.
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BlackBerry was the smartphone of choice for a group of alleged mobsters who were busted by Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Authorities used 1 million intercepted BlackBerry messages to arrest 33 people who are alleged to be part of two Italian-based organized crime syndicates.

"Through the interception of electronic communications on BlackBerry devices (Pin to Pin messaging), the investigators were able to identify the suspects in relation to a series of violent crimes committed on the Montréal territory between 2010 and 2012," the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said in a statement on Thursday.

The suspects are accused of a string of crimes, including arson, having a weapons cache, forcible confinement, drug trafficking, gangsterism and conspiracy.

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Police said they conducted the surveillance by using a "PIN to PIN" interception technique. They said it was the first time this method had been used "on such a large scale in a major investigation in North America."

Two residences and two bank accounts worth a combined estimated value of $1 million were seized as part of the bust, police said.

Blackberry is known as being so secure that even President Obama uses one to check his email.

After the arrests were announced, a spokesperson for the Canada-based company declined to comment to the Globe and Mail on the investigation, but sent a link to a blog promising that BlackBerry enterprise customers are protected by an "unprecedented level of end-to-end security."

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