Man pleads guilty to selling WhatsApp hacking tool, Signal Jammers & Stingrays

A Mexican businessman identified as Carlos Guerrero has pleaded guilty to selling spyware/hacking tools in federal court, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) has confirmed.

The accused owns several businesses in Mexico and the United States. Guerrero’s clients included the governments of the Mexican states of Durango and Baja and private/commercial companies.

According to the DoJ, Guerrero purchased the tools, including signal jammers, IMSI sensors, StingRays, wireless network interception tools and WhatsApp message hacking technology, from Italy and Israel. He sold them to customers in Mexico and the United States. Guerrero pleaded guilty to conspiring to sell the aforementioned tools.

An IMSI sensor and a StingRay device

The 48-year-old Chula Vista, Calif., and Tijuana, Mexico resident appeared in federal court in San Diego. The prosecution alleged that he owned several companies registered in his home country and in the United States. These companies were used as sales brokers to sell surveillance and interception tools.

The accusations

The prosecution accused the Mexican entrepreneur of brokering interception sales as well as selling spyware to the Mexican government and private customers who then used it for personal and commercial gain.

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According to the DoJ Press release, Guerrero was also accused of helping a mayor in Mexico gain unauthorized access to his rival’s iCloud, Hotmail and Twitter accounts. In another case, a Florida sales rep’s phone and email records were hacked and he had to pay $25,000 to recover the data.

Moreover, he also used the tools to intercept calls from his rival residing in Mexico and Southern California. Guerrero has used his company Elite by Carga to import surveillance technology and hacking tools from little-known companies in Israel, Italy and other countries.

The accused worked as a distributor for an unidentified Italian company between 2014 and 2015. The indictment refers to this company as Company A. According to prosecutors, Guerrero also sold geolocation tools.

Carlos Guerrero faces a maximum sentence of five years and a fine of $25,000.

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