The police have achieved a breakthrough in intercepting encrypted messages between criminals. Agents could watch live with the secret messages of these people, explains the police on Tuesday. There are more than a hundred suspects in the picture who have not all been arrested yet.

In brief

  • Police could watch live with 258,000 chat messages from criminals
  • There are more than a hundred suspects in the picture who have not all been arrested yet
  • The server and the website of encrypted messaging have been taken offline

"With this police and the Public Prosecution Service (OM) criminals who thought they were safe for the authorities," said the police.

The criminals used so-called cryptophones that cost thousands of euros. They thought they could communicate encrypted with the Ironchat application. The police, however, managed to gain access to the communication and could decrypt it.

During the operation, the agents were able to read 258,000 instant messages live. "This information can lead to decisive breakthroughs in investigations," police said. Many people have since been arrested and the information obtained is in "probably more than a hundred cases".

Policing has taken place at several locations in the Netherlands. Weapons, money, soft drugs, ecst-labs and hard drugs have also been found. The server and the website of the provider were taken offline by the police. The two owners have been arrested.

Preventing retaliation from information

The police also came through the reports to prepare for a retaliatory action on the trail in the criminal environment. "The chats showed that criminals suspected each other, that they had leaked information to the police and that a retaliatory action was being prepared for this," police said.

On this it was decided to intervene on Tuesday. This led to the arrest of three men in ages 23 to 33 years old from Almelo and Enschede. They are also suspected of drug trafficking.