Encrochat: Raids take down top London and Kent crime gangs

Further details have been released on a series of raids against ‘untouchable’ top-tier criminals after police took town crime communications network, Encrochat, including data on a series raids in Gravesend which saw five people arrested and 24.5kg of cocaine and £213,000 seized.

In total, the Met Police have arrested 146 people and seized £15,490,200 in cash during the force’s biggest ever operation against organised crime, also taking over 600kg of Class A and B drugs off the street.

On Thursday it emerged that the Met, working with top European police forces and led by the National Crime Agency, had cracked a previously impenetrable, military-grade crime chat network called Encrochat.

The breakthrough has been described as the equivalent of breaking the enigma code, and has allowed every police forces across the country to take down “untouchable” crime bosses and criminals posing as wealthy tycoons.

The Met Police said identifying the 1,400 Encrochat users in London and decoding their messages had allowed them to arrest over a 100 of the capital’s longest-standing and most dangerous criminals and disrupt murder plots.

Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick described it as a “game changer,” and said the results of this will still be emerging in the coming months and possibly years.

More details of individual raids have been released today, showing that exactly 146 arrests were made, and seized were 39 Encrochat devices, 19 firearms, 802 ammunition, 538.5kg of cocaine and 47kg of heroin.

Notable successes include a series of raids in Gravesend, Kent, in April.

Police managed to seize 24.5kg of cocaine worth £2.4 million, on top of £213,000 in cash, and five people were arrested.

In a linked raid, another £200,000 was seized elsewhere in London, and a person was charged with money laundering.

In total, Kent Police said they seized £330,000 in cash and weapons including a sawn-off shotgun during the international operation against serious and organised crime.

Detective Chief Superintendent Tom Richards said: ‘This international operation has been the biggest and most significant of its kind in the UK and is a great example of excellent partnership work.

‘There will always be a determined, sustained and co-ordinated focus by Kent Police on the activity of any criminal gang, with robust and rigorous enforcement.

‘Working with our partners, we are continuing to crack down hard on those trying to sell drugs and who criminally exploit the vulnerable, which can have a devastating impact on our communities.

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