Deciphering an encrypted app sheds light on the horrific world of drug trafficking in Europe

HipHop24  - HipHop24
4 Min Read
Deciphering an encrypted app sheds light on the horrific world of drug trafficking in Europe

Since the European police (Europol) succeeded in deciphering the code of the encrypted electronic application for communication between drug gangs (Sky ECC), discoveries have been made about the dark world of smugglers, from settling scores and torture in the Netherlands and Serbia, to threats and suspicions of corruption on an unprecedented level in Belgium and elsewhere.

The file, known as a Canadian application for encrypted communication, has been in the spotlight since March 2021. European Police Director (Europol) Catherine de Paul summarizes the process by saying, “We were like sitting with criminals at the same table.”

At that time, Belgium and France announced, in parallel, a decisive blow to the drug smuggling gangs, due mainly to being able to decipher the code of this application, which is a technical achievement in which Dutch investigators contributed, and made it possible, during the past months, to dismantle a huge cocaine smuggling network whose members are distributed between Dubai and various parts of the country. Europe.

On March 9, 2021, the police arrested 48 people in Belgium after nearly 200 raids, in a process that was the culmination of an analysis of hundreds of millions of emails, and the product of work that spanned many years.

- Advertisement -

The police indicated at the time that the peak of the smuggling cartel’s activity was in the vicinity of Antwerp, the European entry point for cocaine coming from South America. In 2022, the security forces seized approximately 110 tons of this substance, setting a new record.

The French judiciary also had a role in the process, as it opened an investigation since 2019 into this “undeclared” communication system, given that its technical servers were in France.

More than two years later, the French and Belgians are talking about “before and after Sky ECC” in the fight against drug trafficking in Europe.

– “Over a billion messages”

The operation was based on a huge amount of information, “more than a billion messages,” the head of the Belgian Federal Judicial Police, Eric Snoek, confirmed to AFP.

Since March 2021, about 1,400 people have been arrested for questioning in Belgium and 511 judicial investigations have been opened or provided with data from Sky ECC, according to official figures.

In late November, Europol revealed that encrypted messages had enabled the dismantling of a “supercartel” that held a third of Europe’s cocaine operations. 49 suspects were arrested in five countries, including six drug “barons” in Dubai.

Half of the investigations in Belgium are linked to the Public Prosecution Office in Antwerp.

Prime Minister Alexandre de Croo said in September that the city overlooking the North Sea is the most prominent in this case, but that “organized crime spreads in various regions of the country,” announcing the strengthening of the specialized investigative agencies.

The study of encrypted messages made it possible to reach a first conclusion, which is the extent of violence adopted by criminal organizations.

Prosecutor at the Court of Appeal in Paris, Remy Heitz, said that the organizations “brought into Europe actions that we thought were limited to South America (…) intimidation, assassinations, executing people directly in front of happy spectators. This is how smuggling operations are managed.”

– ‘unprecedented’ violence

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter to get our newest articles instantly!

[mc4wp_form id=”847″]

Share this Article
Posted by HipHop24 HipHop24
News journalist about music around the world, including pop, hip-hop and rap
Leave a comment