Two former Australian reality TV stars have been arrested amidst a global FBI operation that targeted organized crime and its use of encrypted communication devices.
Earlier this week, the feds announced “Operation Trojan Shield,” a massive investigation into worldwide criminal networks that utilized the FBI’s relationship with an encrypted chat platform, “ANOM,” as a backdoor into ongoing illicit activity. So far, hundreds of people from dozens of countries have been arrested in connection to drug trafficking and money laundering—many of them based in Australia, where local authorities worked in tandem with U.S. officials to monitor and then smash the alleged crime syndicates.
In a surprising twist, a former contestant on the Australian version of The Bachelorette is one of the arrestees and now faces some hefty drug charges, Motherboard recently reported. In the first and only episode of the reality show in which he appeared, Samuel Minkin apparently tried to woo two contestants by making goose noises and giving them something called a “dolphin kiss.” Your guess is as good as mine.
Anyway, Minkin is now in some serious shit, after police stopped him in connection with “Trojan Shield,” allegedly finding 365 pounds of weed in his car, reports local newspaper The Australian. Though small amounts of personal marijuana possession were decriminalized in Australia’s capital Canberra in 2019, the drug remains illegal in most of the country. Even if Minkin was pulled over in Canberra, something tells me having hundreds of air-sealed baggies piled in your trunk doesn’t quite qualify as “personal use.” Minkin now has an upcoming court date.
Also in some serious trouble is Sopiea Kong, a former contestant on Australian Ninja Warrior—a reality show where contestants leap and bound through various obstacle courses in an effort to be dubbed the most dexterous. Kong, who appeared on the show in 2017, is now being charged with drug trafficking after she was found in possession of 154 grams of methamphetamine and a gun with no serial number.
It’s anybody’s guess as to what compelled Kong and Minkin to go all Tony Montana. It’s also not altogether clear how “Trojan Shield” investigators uncovered the former TV-stars alleged connections to the drug trade.
So far, over 800 people have been arrested in connection to the massive law enforcement effort. As the news continues to roll in, we’ll have to keep a lookout for any former American Idol contestants who moonlit as narco-terrorists.