‘Top three Balkans drug kingpins’ arrested after cops crack their Sky ECC chats

European police arrested three people in Belgrade described as “the biggest” drug lords in the Balkans in what cops are chalking up to another win in dismantling Sky ECC’s encrypted messaging app last year.

On May 11, law enforcement in Serbia and the Netherlands carried out coordinated raids on the cartel’s alleged leaders and distribution infrastructure, according to Europol. During the swoop, officers arrested 13 suspects in Serbia, including the three alleged kingpins, searched 35 homes, and seized nearly €3 million ($3.26 million), 15 “high-end cars,” jewelry, watches, and weapons.

The jewelry and watches are said to be worth about €2 million. And the weapons seized include two sniper rifles, three automatic rifles, guns, silencers, 24 detonator capsules for explosives, five devices for remote initiation of detonators, 13 packages of plastic explosives, and “several hundred” pieces of ammunition, we’re told.

Police had already arrested another 10 alleged members of the cartel in Belgium, Serbia, Peru, and the Netherlands, bringing the total arrests to 23. And all of these came about because of the Sky ECC takedown.

Not-so-secure app

Sky ECC was a subscription-based, end-to-end encrypted messaging app made by Sky Global and bundled on Google, Apple, Nokia, and BlackBerry handsets stripped of their GPS units, cameras, and microphones – the idea being that you could chat via text with other users without fear of being snooped on by the cops and others. That made it attractive for organized crime.

Back in March 2021, Sky Global closed up shop

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