The world of contraband electronics probably isn’t one that you’re familiar with, but if you read about smartphones on a regular basis, you’re bound to come across stories of black markets all around the world selling devices for hundreds of dollars more than they’re worth. This is one of the most interesting we’ve ever read.

FROM EARLIER: A step-by-step guide for recovering your stolen iPhone… and proof that it works

In a recent article on Wired, Matthew Shaer recounted the story of a single batch of stolen iPhones, a tale that has far more twists and turns than you might expect.

The story begins at a FedEx facility in California, where a package split open and dozens of unopened iPhones cascaded on to the floor. An employee at the facility immediately got in touch Apple, Apple contacted Verizon, and the two companies confirmed that the phones were stolen.

Once the items had been identified, Brian Fitchner, a member of the Calfornia Department of Justice’s eCrime Unit, traveled to the facility to take note of the serial numbers on the phones. The package was then resealed and the investigation team proceeded to wait for someone to come pick it up. They wanted to find the source of the operation.

Once the package was picked up, Fitchner’s team followed it until it arrived at the two-story apartment of a man named Shou Lin Wen — it’s final destination before being shipped off to Hong Kong. As it turned out, Wen was making nearly $2.5 million a year from the operation.

For the rest of the story, be sure to head to the link in the source below.

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