Jailed for a total of 366 years - the gangs caught when Merseyside police cracked their secret network

The criminals put behind bars thanks to officers infiltrating Encrochat Credit: Merseyside Police

The secretive communications network 'Encrochat' was revealed to the world 12 months ago and was seen as the biggest criminal intelligence breakthrough in decades.

Merseyside was the 'Encrochat' capital of the UK with hundreds of criminals using an encrypted platform to try to evade detection.

Operation Venetic has had a huge impact on serious organised crime in the North West, where there were up to 400 secret phone handles used by serious organised gangs.

They had thought they were untouchable, until officers cracked their secret code.

Merseyside Police says its led to a major crackdown on drugs and serious organised crime, with 31 people sentenced to a total of 366 years in prison.  

Officers have seized 1.6 million pounds in cash and 72- kilos of drugs and have taken fire arms and ammunition of the streets.

VIDEO: Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Kameen from Merseyside Police

Since last July police have:

• Arrested 133 people

• Charged 101 people

• Seized 4 loaded firearms and ammunition

• Seized 72 kgs of cocaine and heroine

• Seen 31 people convicted to a total of 366 years in prison

• Seized £1.6M in cash

Merseyside Police say since its Operation Venetic was made public a year ago, UK police forces, led by the National Crime Agency have used it to crack the gangs networks.

The warning sent out to EncroChat customers on June 12 when the company realised they had been hacked

What is Encrochat

The software was loaded onto mobile phone handsets and hidden behind a digital partition, accessible only by pressing certain buttons and providing passwords.

Devices had a variety of protective features, including the ability to set a burn time - after which data would be deleted automatically.

A ‘kill pill' code that, could also be used to wipe the phone of all information it had previously stored.

Paul Massey and John Kinsella - Encrochat was used in their executions, before police cracked the platform

EncroChat-enabled phones were found to have been crucial in the executions of Salford 'Mr Big' Paul Massey and John Kinsella, a notorious enforcer from Everton and close friend of Massey's.

Cocaine seized in the Operation Venetic - part of major drugs haul

Among the items seized ketamine found in a car destined for the streets

Police believe the results they have achieved so far are just the tip of the iceberg.

Organised crime gangs are warned to expect a knock on the door, as officers still working on Venetic continue to target and dismantle criminal networks.

Cash recovered during search of a house after Encrochat messages lead them to the criminals door

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