ENCROCHAT HACK: Sick gangsters' prison and torture chamber found in Netherlands after top-end cr
A MAKESHIFT prison with torture chamber, set up by top-end organised criminals to inflict sickening violence upon rivals and other targets, was discovered after investigators saw pictures of it being made after hacking into the encrypted Encrochat messaging system.
The underworld prison and torture chamber was found in a warehouse in Wouwse Plantage in Noord-Brabant, southern Netherlands, after police monitored the messages between criminals involved in setting it up.
Last month it emerged French and Dutch investigators had cracked the encryption of the specialist messaging service that is used largely by criminals.
There were 10,000 users in the UK and so far 746 of them have been arrested.
SCARY: The gangster will see you now - dental chair torture lab
RAID: Police mass at the second location where several firearms were found
Millions of criminal messages are said to have been monitored across Europe while the hack was underway from April to June before Encrochat alerted users to the "security breach" and closed the system down.
The Netherlands has become scene to increasingly violent drugs feuds due to it being central to the drugs trade in Europe.
Last September things came to a head when lawyer Derk Wiersum was assassinated near his home in Amsterdam.
At the time he was the lawyer of state witness Nabil Bakkali in the Marengo case against the crime group led by Dutch Moroccan gangster Ridouan Taghi, 42.
DISGUISE: Police uniforms found in a container
Taghi was arrested two months later in Dubai and is now in a maximum security prison in Vught, southern Netherlands, for suspected involvement in at least ten murders, drug trafficking and leading a criminal organisation.
The prime suspect in the torture chamber facility is a 40-year-old man from The Hague suspected of involvement in drug trafficking.
Five other suspects were arrested.
CUFFS: Legs would have been attached to the torture chair
He was reportedly linked to messages about abduction, torture and the makeshift set up across seven shipping containers.
Six of the containers were set up as prison cells, with the seventh specifically for torture.
Intercepted messages showed photos of this container under construction, including a dental chair, with straps on the armrests and footrest to contain a victim (main image).
The containers were equipped with sound insulating plates and heat insulating foils with handcuffs attached to the ceiling and floor of each, which had a camera mounted in the corner.
CELL: What appears to be a chemical toilet next to leg shackles
One container had bags of pruning shears, loppers, saws, scalpels, pliers, handcuffs, finger cuffs, tape, balaclavas, and black cotton bags that can be pulled over the head.
The abduction and torture of individuals, who were later identified by police before they went into hiding, were discussed in messages.
According to Dutch police the suspects described the facility as an 'ebi' which is a Dutch acronym for high security prisons - with a treatment room.
In another container was equipment that would allow suspects to disguise themselves as police.
There were police uniforms, bulletproof vests, and flashing lights.
There was a sleeping area thought to be for guards.
Police placed the warehouse under observation from mid-April witnessing men working on the containers near daily.
Some of the suspects were already known to police.
Investigators made a move as it was nearing completion as it was feared victims would have been taken there.
When it was raided police also found three stolen vans and two BMWs.
The messages also pinpointed a second warehouse, near the A16 in Rotterdam, thought to have been a criminal base, as there were seven handguns and an automatic assault rifle inside.
Eleven other locations were raided including a Rotterdam home where they found 24 kilograms of MDMA.
A total of 25 weapons were found during raids.
The six men were remanded into custody facing charges of preparing for abductions, hostage taking, aggravated assault, extortion, and participation in a criminal organisation.
Overall, Dutch police said last week that their Encrochat investigations, code-named 26Lemont, had led to the arrest of more than 100 suspects and the seizure of more than 8,000 kilograms of cocaine, 1,200 kilograms of crystal meth and the dismantling of 19 synthetic drugs labs.