One batch of drugs passed after another on the chat. Messages about sea containers, deck cargoes and boats. But not a single gram has ever been intercepted. Nevertheless, the Public Prosecution Service (OM) took seven men to court. Because they would have been fully engaged in smuggling from South America. On Thursday, they heard demands for up to 11 years in prison.
Almost all evidence revolves around chat messages. The people who sent the messages believed they were safe because they openly shared their lives. About drugs, about family and children, about the campsite and about whether a famous person was still a nail technician. What they didn’t know was that the police had sneaked into that Encrochat messaging service and even read along live.
soup for dad
“I made soup for the old man.” Chatted to a stranger on April 4, 2020. It was someone who tiger viking called. The person behind that account also sent a photo of an older man. His father.
The detectives also got the interior of his house on the screen, information about his children, the congratulations for his mother who had turned 69 on that one day. When the picture was complete, the police were able to put a flag on the map, in Made, with a businessman who was born in 1970. A man about whom stories had been circulating for some time but against whom no real evidence had ever been found. Well, the Public Prosecution Service thinks.
tiger viking chatted extensively about drug business with Pontiac Firebird, Chaplinbar, Satinsugar, Flickrfudge and others. The trail led to men from Breda, Oss, Prinsenbeek, Drunen, a Waalwijker living in Hedel and a Rotterdammer. Later, the police were able to photograph all seven suspects at a party. The Public Prosecution Service spoke of a ‘club of friends’. People with various jobs: road worker, hotel manager, car dealer and transport operator. Handy guys, one of the officers called them.
The intercepted messages contained numbers such as ‘1750’ and ‘8100’ and words such as ‘deck cargo’. That is the legal cargo in which the drugs are hidden. Pineapples from Colombia, wood from Ecuador and tiles from Brazil. “The photos and reports about cocaine are flying around us,” said one of the prosecutors. Specifically, the focus was on a transport of about 200 kilos with a value of roughly five million euros.
From the end of 2018 there have been messages about offers, options, transports, fishing cutters in Den Oever, Zeeland with a sport fishing boat, a maintenance vessel in Antwerp, boats in the German Bight and even the collaboration with ‘a stripe’. That is real for a corrupt contact in the port of Antwerp. “Two hundred thousand euros will be transferred in cash and distributed as if they were marbles,” said the prosecutor.
The Public Prosecution Service sees the man from Made as the leader and coordinator of this crime organization. That is why he heard the highest sentence demanded against him: eleven years. Not a single suspect reacted visibly to the years of jail hanging over her head. The family and friends in the stands seemed a bit upset. In addition to the prison sentences of six to eleven years that were demanded, the Public Prosecution Service also wants all suspects to pay a fine of 75,000 euros each.
The Public Prosecution Service continues to be surprised that the suspects keep denying everything and remain silent, without explanation. On Thursday, the Madenaar sighed for a while. “Everything is put in my shoes.” The pleadings will start on Friday and there may be a witness hearing later. The date for a verdict has not yet been set.