Police read 250,000 encrypted phone messages, make 14 arrests

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Dutch police say they have read more than 250,000 encrypted messages between criminal suspects after seizing a seizing a server in the east of the country.

The server was sequestered as part of an investigation into money laundering, when investigators stumbled across a link to a company selling encrypted phones, using the app Ironchat.

The owner of the cryptophone company, a 46 year old man from Lingewaard, and another man, aged 52, were arrested and their homes searched. They are suspected of money laundering and membership of a criminal organisation.

‘This operation has given us a unique glimpse into a criminal world in which criminal acts were openly discussed,’ local police chief Aart Garssen said.

Being able to read the encrypted messages had led to a drugs lab being broken up and the seizure of €90,000 in cash plus a large amount of cocaine and MDMA, Garsssen said. So far, 14 people have been arrested following the seizure of the server.

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