Investigation into encrypted messages leads to over 100 arrests
Dutch police have arrested over 100 suspects following an investigation which led to the interception of over 20 million encrypted messages.
The police investigation
Since April 1, 2020, the Netherlands police have had real-time access to more than 20 million encrypted chat messages between criminals. The messages accessed were all from the encrypted telephone network EncroChat, which according to the police is popular with criminals around the world.
The criminal investigation was carried out by Dutch and French investigative teams. They have called this development an “earthquake” in the world of organised crime. The investigation came to an abrupt end two weeks ago, when the messaging network informed its users to dispose of their phones as a government agency had invaded the network.
Results of the investigation
The Netherlands police have released information regarding the results of the investigation up until this point. They are as follows:
- Over 100 arrests of suspects for very serious crimes
- The seizure of nearly 20 million euros in cash
- The seizure of 8.000 kg of cocaine, and over 1.200 kg of crystal meth
- The dismantling of 19 synthetic drugs labs
- The seizure of dozens of firearms
Having real-time access to these messages meant the police have been able to intercept and prevent a number of serious crimes, such as intended kidnappings, extortion, contract killings, and torture.
The investigation has also led to arrests in other countries, such as Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.