Your freedom is our business
Need Advice about EncroChat? Our Criminal Defence Solicitors Can Help
Law enforcement agencies such as the National Crime Agency (NCA) have successfully infiltrated encrypted communications network, EncroChat. Although using encrypted communication services and devices is not in itself illegal – for example, WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption – EncroChat has been directly linked to suspected organised criminal activity across Europe. So far, around 750 people have been arrested, 200 lives saved, and £54 million in cash, two tonnes of drugs and dozens of guns seized.
Therefore, if you have used EncroChat or own(ed) an EncroPhone and are concerned about potential criminal allegations, or you are already facing arrest and prosecution, seek the advice of a specialist criminal defence solicitor as soon as possible. It could mean the difference between an acquittal or a conviction.
What is EncroChat?
EncroChat was an encrypted communications network with around 60,000 users (10,000 in the UK alone). It allowed users to communicate anonymously using dedicated mobile phones called ‘EncroPhones’. Because these devices were encrypted, messages sent using the device were not stored on the EncroChat servers and could not be easily deciphered if intercepted. Additionally, EncroChat had special features such as immediately erasing all the data on the device if the user entered a four-digit code.
This degree of security meant that EncroChat allegedly became popular with organised criminal gangs and facilitated a vast range of criminal activity, including:
- Drug dealing – the production, importation and supply of drugs
- Firearms offences
- Conspiracy to commit crimes such as murder and acid attacks
- Drug debt enforcement
- County lines offences – the exploitation of children and vulnerable people to transport drugs around the country
In March 2020, law enforcement authorities such as the NCA and Europol managed to infiltrate EncroChat. They quietly intercepted and decoded millions of messages before EncroChat noticed that it had been compromised and notified its users in June 2020. However, by this point it was too late. So far, the NCA, Regional Organised Crime Units and police forces have arrested 746 people suspected of criminal offences in the UK.
Do you need legal advice about EncroChat? Our criminal defence lawyers can help
The Metropolitan Police Commissioner has stated that, “this is just the beginning. We will be disrupting organised criminal networks as a result of these operations for weeks, months and possibly years to come”.
If you are concerned about being arrested or you or someone you know has already been arrested in relation to EncroChat, it is essential that you contact a skilled criminal lawyer as soon as possible. The fact that the authorities may have information from infiltrating EncroChat does not necessarily mean it can be used as evidence to prosecute you. We can obtain and examine all the evidence on your behalf and develop a defence strategy. Taking the right approach at an early stage could help you avoid prosecution or a conviction.
Based in Bournemouth, our criminal defence team have decades of experience defending individuals who have been accused of criminal offences. We are accredited by the Law Society for our Criminal Litigation skills and can represent you at every stage of the criminal justice process, including:
- At the police station – our team includes qualified police station representatives who can travel to assist you at short notice. We recommend that you do not answer police questions until we are by your side because whatever you say could be used as evidence against you
- During criminal investigations – we can ensure your legal rights are respected and liaise with the authorities on your behalf
- At court – our team includes qualified court representatives who can represent you at all levels, including the Crown Court and appeal courts
We can assist with all types of offences relating to the EncroChat bust including:
- Drugs offences, such as:
- Possession of drugs
- Intent to supply drugs
- Production and importation of drugs
- Serious fraud
- Money laundering
- Firearms offences
- Conspiracy offences, such as:
- Conspiracy to murder
- Conspiracy to supply drugs
- Violent crimes, such as:
- Murder and attempted murder
- GBH and ABH
- Assault and battery
- ‘County lines’ offences, such as:
- Drug trafficking
- Modern Slavery Act offences
- Sexual offences and exploitation
- Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings, such as confiscation