The National Crime Agency (NCA) has shared some of the messages exchanged on an ‘encrypted’ messaging system as criminal ‘kingpins’ started to get word that their platform had become compromised.
The frantic messages were unearthed after the NCA began processing millions of criminal exchanges from the EncroChat system – which an international law enforcement team cracked in April.
As a result of the work of law enforcement agencies, 200 threats to life were averted, 77 firearms were recovered, two tonnes of drugs were seized, more than £54m in criminal cash was secured and more than 746 people were arrested.
The messages released by the NCA as a result of operation Venetic give a unique insight into how the criminal fraternity regard the organisation.
In one, an offender says: “Yeh its NCA wanna worry about.”
Another said: “If ye got that NCA on ye m8/ ye got problems for sure and heavy bird m8.”
One criminal wrote: “Bro NCA come after you there is no work these bastards had intel on everything.”
And another put it simply: “The police are winning this year.”
There were thought to be 10,000 EncroChat users in the UK, with an estimated 60,000 worldwide.
Other messages included:
“That’s naughty when the big boys like NCA and flying squad come its not good they wont stop”
“Yeah if NCA are on him. Defiantly not the firm that go away. That like a pack of hyenigas”
A suspect is led away by Police following the successful execution of operation Venetic
“….When NCA come…….., they gona come in hard and fast”
“Bro trust me NCA is like M15 for our business”
“They will keep digging until they get a result… You know what the NCA are like”
“NCA as u know well are sophisticated and relentless”
“I’m moving my family from UK this year because NCA is getting to smart”
Just one of the 77 firearms which were recovered
“NCA are the worst bro”
“NCA taken too many people out”
“These NCA are no joke”
“Be scared of NCA”
“Thing is we need to know becoz if NCA then we have a big problem”
Just one of the 77 firearms which were recovered
“So many ppl been took down here, NCA been clearing up”
“NCA scary bastards”
“Yeah have you seen NCA site,,,there getting everyone”
“This year the police are winning.”
“The police are having a field day”
“Mate police are winning war at min like”
“The police are winning this year”
“Yes I thought this for last 6 months police having to much success”
Some of the cash recovered and secured by the Police
“Police have too much success”
“Thanks bro the police scoring goals motherf******”
“The police are on one”
The handsets could only be used to communicate with other EncroChat devices and had no other smartphone functionality other than one app – a currency converter to help calculate profit on deals.
The EncroChat servers – which were infiltrated by French and Dutch partners – were based in France.
The enormous amount of invaluable data which was harvested was subsequently shared via Europol.
NCA Deputy Director Investigations Matt Horne, who was also Gold Commander for Operation Venetic, said:
“Operation Venetic has targeted middle-ranking and top tier criminals, including offenders who’ve previously been untouchable.
“The messages are a reflection of UK law enforcement’s standing in their eyes – and they were before they realised their communication system had been infiltrated.
“Who knows what they think now?
“But they should know this is the just the start of Operation Venetic and the last thing we’ll be is complacent.
“We are not going to take our foot off the gas.
“NCA officers and our policing partners are fired up about this fight and about protecting the UK.
“Though the UK comments are rightly about the NCA’s and police’s tenacity, they’re also testament to how well international law enforcement works together and pulls in the same direction.”
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