European police busted an encrypted messaging app used by criminal gangs, leading to 42 arrests and the seizure of labs manufacturing drugs, medicines, cash and weapons, the police said on Friday. Dutch font.
Investigators raided premises in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands after an investigation lasting more than two years, which began in September 2020 and led to the closure of the secret messaging system Exclu Messenger.
have accessed data from this encrypted communication service used by criminals and have been able to read their messages for the past five months
,” Dutch police said in a statement on Friday.
The French, Italian and Swedish police, as well as Europol and its twin judicial agency Eurojust, also took part in the investigation into Exclu Messenger.
Officers seized two drug labs, a cocaine processing facility as well as several kilograms of drugs, four million euros in cash, luxury items and weapons, Dutch police said.
Used by around 3,000 people, of whom around 750 spoke Dutch, Exclu was installed on smartphones and cost users 800 euros for six months.
Excluded allowed for the exchange of messages, photos, notes, voice memos, online chats and videos
," the Dutch police added.
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It is the latest encrypted communications service to be penetrated by law enforcement, following earlier successes like the one in 2021 when investigators managed to break into Sky ECC, another app used by criminal gangs, which believed inviolable.
The 2021 investigation gave investigators access to thousands of messages exchanged between gangs and criminal networks, leading to a large number of arrests.