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Europol on Tuesday announced that the takedown of EncroChat in July 2020 led to 6,558 arrests worldwide and the seizure of €900 million in illicit criminal proceeds.

The law enforcement agency said that a subsequent joint investigation initiated by French and Dutch authorities intercepted and analyzed over 115 million conversations that took place over the encrypted messaging platform between no less than 60,000 users.

Now almost three years later, the information obtained from digital correspondence has resulted in –

  • Arrests of 6,558 suspects, including 197 high-value targets
  • 7,134 years of imprisonment of convicted criminals
  • Confiscation of €739.7 million in cash
  • Freeze of €154.1 million frozen in assets or bank accounts
  • Seizure of 30.5 million pills of chemical drugs
  • Seizure of 103.5 tonnes of cocaine, 163.4 tonnes of cannabis, and 3.3 tonnes of heroin
  • Seizure of 971 vehicles, 83 boats, and 40 planes
  • Seizure of 271 estates or homes, and
  • Seizure of 923 weapons, as well as 21,750 rounds of ammunition and 68 explosives

A majority of EncroChat users are said to be members of organized crime rings (34.8) and drug trafficking groups (33.29%). The remainder engaged in money laundering (14%), murders (11.5%), and firearms trafficking (6.4%).

EncroChat was an encrypted phone network that was used by organized crime groups to plot drug deals, money laundering, extortion, and even murders. “User hotspots were particularly present in source and destination countries for cocaine and cannabis trade, as well as in money laundering centers,” Europol said at the time.

images from Hacker News