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Latest Encrochat bust uncoveres Industrial-scale cocaine lab in Rotterdam

Last year well known ‘secure’ chat network Encrochat was infiltrated by the Police between at least March and June 2020 during a Europe-wide investigation. Several description specialists that were involved in the infiltration of the network managed to put a “technical tool” on EncroChat’s servers in France. The supposed malware gave Law Enforcement the ability to read messages before they were sent and records screen lock passwords.

The French National Gendarmerie (Gendarmerie Nationale) and the Dutch Police (Politie) are continuously working together on data gathered from Encrochat servers. The investigation has led to a new discovery of an industrial-scale cocaine laboratory located in the city of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands.

Part of the seized products from the lab.

In the early hours on May 26th, 80 Dutch police officers working together with the French Gendarmerie and led by specialist SWAT teams with drugs dogs raided various locations in the cities of Rotterdam and The Hague in the Netherlands. The industrial-scale cocaine laboratory was discovered in a building that doubled as a garage which was used by the same criminals to customize cars and vans with secret compartments to transport drugs to multiple European countries. The products that were being transported were produced in the same lab. Seven vehicles were seized, all of the vehicles had hidden drugs compartments. Some of the vehicles had a value of over €100,000 (USD $120,000).

The criminal organization owning both the lab and the vehicle shop/garage is responsible for a large percentage of cocaine being distributed throughout Europe in varying purity. One of the members of the criminal organization (not a Dutch national) was arrested in Rotterdam. Eurojust issued an official European Arrest Warrant for the individual earlier this year.

Part of the seized production materials from the lab.

The same criminal organization is being thinned out by law enforcement as a result of the Encrochat hack. On March 31st, 450 officers were involved in a deployment against the same organization which lead to the arrest of 8 members of the same group.

As a result of this sting operation a whopping €5 million (USD $6.1 million) worth of cocaine produced in the same lab was seized in the south of France. Law enforcement officials also seized €3 million (USD $3.6 million) worth of cannabis resin and €3.4 million (USD $4.1 million) in cash. During this investigation law enforcement officials were able to track the cocaine back to the now busted Rotterdam cocaine lab.

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