EU's police agency arrested more than 800 people in a major operation against criminal organizations using encrypted communication networks, according to Europol on Tuesday.
A series of “large-scale law-enforcement actions were executed over the past days across 16 countries resulting in more than 700 house searches, more than 800 arrests,” the agency said in a statement.
Some eight tons of cocaine, 22 tons of cannabis, two tons of synthetic drugs, 55 luxury vehicles, and worldwide currencies and cryptocurrencies worth $48 million were seized during the operations.
Europol carried out the operations with support from 16 countries and in cooperation with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Dutch National Police (Politie), and the Swedish Police Authority (Polisen), and the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Europol’s Deputy Executive Director Jean-Philippe Lecouffe said: “This operation is an exceptional success by the authorities in the United States, Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand and the other European members of the Operational Task Force."
Organized criminal networks are increasingly relying on encrypted communication platforms to facilitate their criminal activities.
Europol over the past year has carried out several operations against encrypted communication networks used by criminals, including an operation against the EncroChat encrypted platform in July 2020 and against Sky ECC network in March 2021.