EncroChat Seizure: British LE Arrested Years Operational “Untouchable Gangs”


Thousands of the criminal operations that have been active till date and was away from the radar of law enforcement agencies have been thwarted. This crime-busting operation of the so-called “Untouchable Gangs” is the biggest ever crime-busting operation of Britain. It has been noted that the notorious kingpins have been rounded up. The law enforcement agencies of Britain have seized drugs, guns and cash in millions after capturing the organised criminal groups spread all across the UK.

The officials say that the criminal gangs have been untouchable for years and now have been broken up. The suspected kingpin “Mr Bigs” have been arrested. In this operation, over 200 murder plots have been forestalled in the International law enforcement operation on an unparalleled scale.

How Did The “Untouchable Gangs” Bust Operation Initiate?

The secret operation began back in April with infiltrating the secure criminal messaging service named EncroChat. This criminal chat system is the most popular among criminals. It is used for organising the importation as well as the trade of vast amounts of drugs and guns.

The Echoing TV show named “The Wire”, the cops were able to discern messages as they straightforward involved the crime gang bosses or kingpins in their own illicit operations.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) was working hand in hand with all the police forces across the United Kingdom and a network of foreign law enforcement agencies. The agencies state that they have successfully “punched huge holes” in the criminal groups. These “Untouchable Gangs” were basically involved in kidnapping and murders along with several other gangland executions. All of these have been thwarted, and the seizure was carried out.

Law Enforcement Agencies Seizured Materials 

The seizure included 77 guns inclusive of an AK47 rifle and several submachine guns, grenades, over £54 million cash and two tonnes of drugs. The police have also seized 73 designer watches and 55 luxury cars. Apart from this, more than 28 million Valium pills have also been taken into custody.

Image: Evening Standard

Nikki Holland, the director of Investigations at NCA, said that this is the deepest and broadest ever the United Kingdom-based operation into the serious organised crime. She also mentions that every criminal group in the country must have an “inside person”. The bust has been well understood to be more and more significant rather than the operation in the bid to shut down the infamous Silk Road (now defunct) trade of the illicit goods on the dark web.

Furthermore, she added that they had protected the public by arresting the mid-tier criminals and the kingpins, the iconic “Untouchable Gangs” who have evaded the law enforcement agencies for years now and finally they had the evidence to prosecute them. It took around three months to get the announcement of Britain’s biggest ever gang bust after rigorous investigations. The task was keeping an eye on the EncroChat messages between the criminals and plunging on the major players of the group when they could directly be linked to the guns, drugs, or the heaps of criminal cash.

What is with the Secure Criminal Messaging App “EncroChat”?

The criminal activity supportive secure messaging service had been infiltrated in France and The Netherlands. The results had been shared with the UK law enforcement agencies and the Interpol. The NCA thinks that around 10,000 EncroChat devices (20% of the total devices worldwide) are broadly in use in Britain. EncroChat has been fruitful service purposes for all sorts of criminal activities.

The EncroChat devices are custom-made and are priced at £1,500 for only six months of usage. It claims to offer what was believed to be the secure messaging service, which was impenetrable to the law enforcement strategies. The service that has been boasted of several devices had been specially tailor-made to fasten the security and guarantee anonymity to the users, along with auto-delete of the messages, plus a complete wipe of the data (in case, anyone tries to hack the device).

Image: Sky News

In the mid-June, EncroChat has realised that the service had been infiltrated. At the same time, the police operations across Europe were able to continue as the criminal groups were not at all aware of how deeply their messages had been compromised. The panic-stricken criminals continued to send the messages on the devices stating that the NCA and police are winning over them and they are having a field day.

The announcement of the “Untouchable Gangs” has been coordinated with the primary law enforcement agencies around Europe, soon after they delayed the publicity in the bid to maximise the number of the arrests. Chief Constable Steve Jupp, The National Police Chiefs Council lead for the serious organised crime says that by dismantling these groups, they have rescued countless lives and has protected the communities across the United Kingdom.

In this regard, Priti Patel, the Home Secretary has added that this operation demonstrates criminals who will not get away with using the encrypted devices to plot the vile crimes under the radar of law enforcement. The relentless targeting of this gang by the NCA has helped to keep everyone safe and sound. NCA arrested 746 suspects. She has also congratulated the efforts of the law enforcement agencies involved in the dismantling on the significant achievement. An operation has also been started and in progress. This operation aims to target the people involved in the supply of EncroChat devices.

An update has been flashed on the Europol’s Twitter account on what exactly is the EncroChat lately:


Sources: Evening Standard

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