RCMP official arrested after FBI, RCMP found documents

TORONTO (AP) — The head of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Tuesday the national force was working with the FBI on an investigation last year when it discovered documents that eventually led to the arrest of one of its senior intelligence officers.

Authorities arrested Cameron Jay Ortis last week and alleged he tried to disclose classified information to a foreign entity they didn’t specify. Ortis had served in a civilian role as director general of a RCMP intelligence unit.

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki said Tuesday certain documents discovered in the unrelated investigation suggested “internal corruption.”

The 47-year-old was charged under three sections of the Security of Information Act as well as two Criminal Code provisions, including breach of trust. Lucki said Ortis had access to information from Canada’s allies

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A senior Canadian government said official information that led to the arrest of Ortis came up during an investigation into a Canadian man, Vincent Ramos, who sold encrypted Blackberry smartphones to criminals worldwide that enabled them to sell drugs and even plan murders while avoiding the eyes of law enforcement. The official spoke on condition of anonymity for lack of authorization to talk publicly about the case.

Ramos was sentenced to nine years in prison in May after he pleaded guilty in federal court in San Diego a year ago to one count of racketeering conspiracy. Ramos ran a company called Phantom Secure that offered gutted, uncrackable smartphones that, for a subscription, could send encrypted text messages through a secure network based in Panama and Hong Kong.

The company also could wipe the phones remotely if they were seized.

Prosecutors said Ramos’ clients included the Sinaloa drug cartel of Mexico and a global drug-trafficking and illicit gambling organization run by former University of Southern California football player Owen Hanson, who is serving a 21-year sentence.

Other clients were Hells Angels in Australia who used them to coordinate several killings, authorities said.

Ramos boasted about his wares after seeing a 2014 news report that said use of his encrypted devices by a suspect in one high-profile murder had hampered the investigation.

At least 7,000 of the phones were sold.

It was the first U.S. conviction involving someone who provided encryption technology to criminal organizations.

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