Authorities Detains 48 In Europe Over Encrypted App Used In Drug Trade

German authorities announced Monday that European investigators have disrupted an encrypted communication platform utilized for organized crime, particularly in drug trafficking. The operation resulted in the arrests of 48 individuals.

On Friday, 70 plus properties were searched in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Poland as part of the arrests, according to a statement from the criminal police office in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.

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According to the statement, the individuals arrested were users, administrators, and operators of the Exclu communication service.

It is pertinent to mention here that the arrests came after a 2020 investigation that traced its origin to the shutdown of a former military bunker in western Germany in the previous year, which hosted various sites dealing in illegal activities including drug trade and the usage of the Exclu communication service.

According to German authorities, Exclu was marketed as a smartphone app with a six-month license costing 800 euros ($860). It was estimated to have 3,000 users, with 750 of them located in the Netherlands where police were also involved in the investigation.

Jean Harris

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