ENCROCHAT HACK: 'That you?' Drug baron to Polish lorry driver on encrypted phone after readi
A POLISH lorry driver drugs importer has been jailed for 12 years as part of the UK's biggest operation against organised crime after National Crime Agency (NCA) officers used intelligence from the infiltration of encrypted mobile phone service Encrochat to catch him.
In February an international law enforcement partnership cracked the EncroChat network - used exclusively by about 60,000 criminals worldwide to communicate with each other in secret.
More than 750 people were arrested across the UK after the Encrochat encrypted phone messaging system was cracked by international investigators - about 250 have been charged.
One of them was Polish national Dariusz Urban, 49, (pictured above - NCA)
The NCA worked through millions of pieces of information to develop cases and was able to use the intelligence to catch Urban as he drove his lorry into Harwich International Port on April 15 this year.
HIDDEN: A steel vehicle ramp used to conceal the drugs (NCA)
An NCA spokesman said: "Because of what the agency knew from the encrypted messages, it was able to tip off Border Force officers who were waiting for him and found 25kg of heroin concealed in Urban’s cover load of crisps.
"The 50 packets of drugs were hidden inside two steel vehicle ramps inside the truck."
Urban, of Ostrzeszow, western Poland, was also in possession of an EncroChat phone.
The NCA published the arrest at the time.
The spokesman added: "A day later, an international drugs supplier shared a screen shot on EncroChat of the NCA story and asked the suspected UK recipient of the drugs: “This you?”
"The supplier has been arrested in the Netherlands by Dutch authorities."
Urban was jailed for 12 years at Chelmsford Crown Court on Thursday after admitting attempting to import class A drugs.
SEIZURE: All the drugs laid out after they were removed from Urban's lorry (NCA)
The operation - dubbed Venetic - has smashed thousands of criminal conspiracies, resulted in the arrests of hundreds of suspects, and the seizure of scores of firearms and more than two tonnes of class A and B drugs.
NCA Deputy Director Matt Horne, who is the gold commander on Operation Venetic, said: “Darius Urban’s sentencing is another example of the impact the NCA, Border Force and UK policing are having on serious organised crime.
“Like many other cases, with this operation we were able to plot how the drugs would be picked up and moved and when would be best to strike.
“There is much more to come.”
NCA branch commander Mark Spoors said: “Drug traffickers don’t care at all about the hell they wreak on communities.
“The seizure of this significant amount of heroin means the crime groups trading it have lost money which won’t be fed back into other drugs deals.
“Stopping drugs traffickers is a top priority – and we’ll continue working with our partners at home and abroad to do it.”