Operation Sky ECC: Major arrests and another large scale operation

Operation Sky ECC: Major arrests and another large scale operation
Credit: Vlas police zone

A major operation took place last night in Belgium as a result of Operation Sky ECC, the name given to an investigation into organised crime that involved breaching an encrypted messaging service used by top criminals in the country.

Ten suspects have been arrested by federal police for importing drugs through the Port of Antwerp, with six of those suspects being employees of the Port, according to reporting from De Standaard.

Last night’s coordinated house raids were similar to an operation that took place in March, where police coordinated simultaneous searches across the country that resulted in 48 arrests in what was one of the largest operations to take place in Belgian history.

This latest one is the third such “mega operation” to stem from the initial Sky ECC investigation, which has targeted some of the largest players and families in organised crime and cocaine trafficking.

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The searches on Monday night took place in 13 homes in Antwerp, Schoten, Wommelgem and in the prisons of Antwerp and Wortel.

VRT reports that the searches focused on two major crime families.

Among the suspects arrested is a brother of Othman E.B., who for years has been an alleged key figure in cocaine smuggling and is believed to be living in Dubai.

“The investigation was able to shed light on the criminal activities of the two related families - which were possibly controlled from Dubai,” Kristof Aerts of the Antwerp public prosecutor's office told VRT.

Police have long been saying that Operation Sky ECC would be focused on taking down the bigger players in the drug trade in Belgium, and arrests have included lawyers, public servants (many of whom illegally accessed public data regarding private individuals on behalf of criminals) and even police detectives.

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