The latest suspects accused of being part of an OCG (organised crime gang) have appeared in court after police authorities access secure messaging system EncroChat.
Begin Pupla, 35, a builder in Richmond, London, Mohammed Sabek, 33, a fitness coach, and Philemon Ghezzehey, 35, a personal trainer, were all arrested and charged with multiple offences. Pulpa has been charged with one count of conspiring to supply class A drugs, supplying class A drugs and possessing criminal property.
Ghezzehey and Sabek have been accused of supplying class A drugs and firearms.
Ghezzehey is charged with one count of participating in the criminal activities of an organised crime group, one count of conspiring to supply class A drugs, one count of conspiring to supply class B drugs, and one count of conspiring to supply class C drugs.
Millions of EncroChat messages hacked by NCA lead to arrests
Operation Venetic, run by the National Crime Agency and Europol hacked into the EncroChat messaging system earlier this year. Tens of thousands of accounts and millions of messages were scrutinised to detect criminal activities.
Whilst the android EncroChat system has undoubtedly been used by criminals, the £1500 android phones the system ran on, was also used by thousands who wanted to keep ordinary affairs concealed.
Defence solicitors working with clients caught up in the EncroChat hack have been using a variety of defence strategies in an effort to prevent innocent people being charged. Speak with our EncroChat Solicitors today before it is too late.
NCA goes on the EncroChat attack
In a Public relations effort, the NCA continues to release information to deflect claims of unauthorised hacking of the EncroChat system.
This has taken the form of publishing messages discovered on the network showing that criminals were fearful of a breach, even before it happened.
In-text exchanges on EncroChat, messages were sent labelling the NCA tactics as ‘sophisticated and relentless’ with ‘intel on everything’, even going so far as to say,
‘The police are winning this year. That’s naughty when the big boys like NCA and flying squad come it’s not good they won’t stop’.
The Metropolitan Police and Manchester Police join in a publicity blitz
Whilst the war on criminals continues unabated because of the EncroChat hack, the war of words is also heating up.
The Metropolitan Police recently named “Operation Eternal” (a subsequent operation to Operation Venetic) as the ‘most significant operation the Met has ever launched against serious and organised crime’
The police say more than £13m has been seized and 113 people have been charged.
In a public relations effort, the Met has released the names of those charged as part of Operation Eternal.
As other police forces launch investigations, such as the Greater Manchester Police’s Operation Dryer, it’s clear that hundreds of people will be charged over the following months as the EncroChat hack reveals more data.
This is the first time a secure messaging system has been hacked by police authorities in the UK. It’s likely that there will be many challenges to the legality of the hack and the interpretation of data. (More on that here).
But one thing is for sure. Whether it’s to hide an illicit love-affair or a drug deal, there’s going to be less confident about trusting “secure messaging” services in the future.
When a military-grade EncroChat can be hacked, who’s going to trust Messenger?
Before you get distracted we recommend you put this 24/7 telephone number 0333 009 6275 in your mobile phone contacts under Solicitors – you never know when you may need us.