German security officials said on Tuesday they made more than 750 arrests and seized large quantities of drugs after gaining access to extensive chat data from encrypted cell phones.
The investigation, which began in April 2020, focused on data from users of the provider EncroChat who were involved in the illegal drug trade, prosecutors in Frankfurt and the country’s Federal Criminal Police Office said in a report. written statement.
Dutch and French officials helped with the investigation, prosecutors said.
“The EncroChat data was obtained as part of a French investigation,” Frankfurt prosecutor Julia Bussweiler told The Associated Press. “The French authorities, in collaboration with the Dutch authorities, set up a so-called joint investigation team and within this investigation team, they succeeded in decrypting the encrypted data and thus read the communication between the users of the Enchrochat cell phones.
Investigators seized 3.2 metric tons (3.5 short tons) of cannabis, approximately 320 kilograms (700 pounds) of synthetic drugs, more than 125,500 ecstasy pills, nearly 400 kilograms (880 pounds) of cocaine and 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of heroin, authorities said.
They also confiscated 310 weapons, more than 12,200 cartridges and property worth 168 million euros ($ 223 million).
Prosecutor Bussweiler said the investigation was far from over and they were still sifting through and assessing the data entered.
“There are a lot of people who are in pre-trial detention,” she said. “The data is being verified to see if it is sufficient for a charge. “