Two officers from Antwerp police were arrested in the series of raids that took place on Tuesday following the authorities’ cracking of encrypted messaging service Sky ECC.
One is a member of the DOT team, or drug support team, and the other is his wife, who also works for Antwerp police, according to reporting from HLN.
“As we knew, this groundbreaking judicial investigation is also mapping ramifications in the upper world. We have always pointed out the danger of criminal undermining of many sensitive sectors,” said Antwerp mayor Bart De Wever. “Of course, security services cannot escape that.”
The 200 home searches conducted on Tuesday with a team of 1,600 officers were part of what is now being called Operation Sky, named for the encrypted messaging app that criminals in the Belgian underworld were using for their illicit business.
- Lawyers among those arrested in crackdown organised crime
- When Sky ECC fell, so too did Belgian crime lords
- 17 tonnes of cocaine and €1.2 million seized in major police operation in Belgium
- Hospital worker arrested in Sky ECC investigation
The Canadian company behind the app had described its messaging service as “uncrackable,” but Belgian authorities say they’ve cracked it, and after gaining access to the messaging network of the country’s leaders in organised crime, are bringing down the hammer.
During the large-scale searches throughout Belgium, 48 suspects were arrested and €1.2 million and 17 tonnes of cocaine were seized, along with diamonds, jewellery, luxury vehicles, police uniforms and weapons.
Two of those arrests were of lawyers in Antwerp.
More high profile arrests are expected to follow, as Minister of Justice Vincent Van Quickenborne announced in recent days that the “upper world” would not be spared following Operation Sky.
“There are indications that people from the public sector are also involved in these cases,” he told VTM. “There will undoubtedly be cases in which there is talk of corruption, that is clear.”
The Brussels Times