A vast operation to dismantle a criminal organization linked to cocaine trafficking was Tuesday in Belgium, with “several dozen searches and several dozen arrests”
The operation was triggered by more than 1,500 police officers, in particular in the Brussels region, according to the prosecution.
This anti-drug operation is the most important since that carried out last March, thanks to the dismantling of an encrypted communications network, called Sky ECC and used by criminal groups, which allowed the opening of other cases.
More than 200 requests
The raid carried out in March resulted in more than 200 searches and 48 arrests, involving more than 1,500 police officers. According to the Belga agency, the operation on Tuesday targets an Albanian network.
It was made possible by the decryption of around 700 million messages sent via secure phones marketed by Canada-based company Sky ECC.
The result of European cooperation, the use of data transmitted in this case also led to indictments in France in the spring.
Last June, the Canadian Thomas Herdman, one of the main distributors of the Sky ECC telephone network, at the heart of anti-crime investigations around the world, was indicted and imprisoned in Paris.
Traffic entrance gate
Belgium and the Netherlands have become the main hubs for cocaine trafficking to Europe, supplanting Spain, the former first route of entry, according to a Europol report published in September.
In 2020, cocaine seizures in Antwerp totaled 65.6 tonnes, a new record. Colombia, Brazil and Ecuador rank in the top three places for sending countries.
On October 18, the Belgian justice announced the dismantling of a criminal organization which used in particular the Sky ECC communications network. This network is suspected of having imported into Belgium more than 15 tonnes of cocaine via the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam, with ramifications in Spain and Colombia.
The Federal Prosecutor’s Office is due to give a press conference in the afternoon on Tuesday’s operation.