SKY ECC drugs trial begins under tight security

Tuesday sees the start of the trial in Brussels of a major drugs case that came to light after the encryption software Encrochat and SKY ECC were decrypted. A total of 129 suspects are on trial, 47 of whom are still in custody.

Tuesday's hearing at the Brussels Criminal Court will only deal with procedural and administrative issues. The hearing will start on 6 November under tight security.

In early 2021, the federal judicial police (FGP) cracked the encryption software of SKY ECC, a chat service that only ran on specially configured smartphones. With the information that could be extracted from the decrypted chat messages, several other judicial investigations were launched and completed.

Cocaine trafficking

On 26 October 2021, the Brussels FGP succeeded in dismantling a criminal organisation allegedly active in cocaine trafficking between South America and Europe. The organisation was thought to be responsible for receiving, extracting and repackaging cocaine in Belgian laboratories. The drugs were reportedly transported from South America to Europe in sea containers and private jets and exported from Belgium to several European countries.

In a major police operation, investigators raided 114 addresses and uncovered six laboratories where cocaine imported into Belgium was repackaged for distribution throughout Europe. Several clandestine chemical dumps were linked to these laboratories.

The police also seized tonnes of products and materials suspected of being impregnated with cocaine, a dozen firearms, 57 vehicles, 300 cubic metres of tobacco and 1 million euros in cash.

In total, 129 people were referred to the criminal court. Many of the suspects are Albanian; some are Colombian.



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