Daily US Times: Belgian police say they have seized almost 28 tons of cocaine with a street value of $1.65 billion after gaining access to an encrypted phone network used by criminals.
Police seized 27.64 tons of cocaine at the port of Antwerp in the six weeks since February 20, including a record shipment of almost 11 tons overnight from 2-3 April, according to Belgian Federal Police.
In a statement released on Monday said that police specialists gained access to encrypted messages from an encrypted messaging service called Sky ECC, which revealed detailed information about cocaine shipments.
The statement added that during a judicial investigation into a potential service criminal organization suspected of knowingly providing encrypted telephones to the criminal environment, police specialists managed to crack the encrypted messages from Sky ECC.
Police said investigations about the matter continue.
This is not the first time that law enforcement agencies have gained access an encrypted platform used by criminals.
Agencies in France and the Netherlands infiltrated a platform called EncroChat, which offered a secure mobile phone instant messaging service, last year and shared the data via Europol, allowing police to monitor the private communications — including millions of messages and lots of photos of criminals.
According to the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA), EncroChat was a “criminal marketplace” used by 60,000 people worldwide for coordinating the distribution of illicit goods, money laundering and plotting to kill rivals.
In July, the NCA said it had seized £54 million ($68 million) in cash and made 746 arrests. Police also seized 77 firearms and more than two tons of drugs during Operation Venetic, the biggest-ever operation of its kind in the United Kingdom.