746 arrests have been made across Europe after the EncroChat encrypted messaging service was hacked in an operation by the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) working with various European law enforcement agencies.
The NCA claim to have uncovered thousands of criminal conspiracies in what they have called “the UK’s biggest every law enforcement operation”. Code named Operation Venetic, the joint operation saw an international law enforcement team crack EncroChat’s encryption two months ago, allowing them to read the messages of the service’s 60,000 users.
As well as the arrests, £54 million in cash, millions of pounds worth of drugs and 77 firearms were seized. The NCA also claims to have used the information gathered from EncroChat to prevent gang-related kidnappings and executions, including over 200 threats to life.
The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick, said: “This is just the beginning. We will be disrupting organised criminal networks as a result of these operations for weeks and months and possibly years to come.”
This suggests that further arrests are likely in the near future based on information gathered from EncroChat over the last two months.
What to do if you or a loved one have been arrested or fear arrest following the EncroChat hack
If you or a loved one have been arrested or are worried about the possibility of arrest in relation to the EncroChat hack, it is essential to get specialist legal representation immediately.
At ABR Solicitors, our team are highly experienced in dealing with serious criminal charges, including for serious drug offences, firearms offences, violent offences and all types of conspiracy offences.
We can advise you on your legal rights, represent you in interviews with police, the National Crime Agency or any other law enforcement agency, and represent you in any criminal proceedings that may follow.
Our team is also highly skilled in dealing with Proceeds of Crime Act (PoCA) confiscations and asset recovery.
For urgent advice and immediate representation please contact ABR Solicitors now.
Your rights when arrested
When making an arrest, law enforcement officers must:
- Identify themselves as law enforcement officers
- Tell you:
- That you are being arrested
- What specific offence or offences you are believed to have committed
- Why it is necessary for you to be arrested
- That you are not free to leave
They must also caution you using the words:
“You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.”
When you are arrested, law enforcement officers can:
- Search you.
- Handcuff you.
- Use ‘reasonable force’ if you resist arrest, try to escape or become violent.
When interviewed by police, the NCA or any other law enforcement agency, always remember:
- You have the right to remain silent and not answer questions.
- You should never answer any questions without a solicitor present.
- You have the right to free legal representation.
You can use the duty solicitor available or choose your own lawyer to represent you when interviewed under caution. Where you are facing serious and complex criminal charges, we always urge people to choose a criminal defence lawyer with specific expertise in the types of offences for which you are being interviewed.
This is important because it is very easy for an inexperienced solicitor to make mistakes or miss important details when dealing with these kinds of complex charges, so working with a specialist team can give you the best chance of avoiding being charged or lying the groundwork for a successful defence if charges cannot be avoided.
How our criminal defence team can help with EncroChat charges
If you or a loved one have been arrested or are worried about the possibility of arrest in connection with the EncroChat hack, our expert criminal defence team can assist with:
- Clear advice on your legal position
- Police station representation
- What to do if you are released under investigation
- Representation for court proceedings
- Advice in relation to assets seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act (PoCA)
With decades of specialist expertise, we can give you the best chance of avoiding criminal charges. Should you be charged, we can provide a robust defence during the court proceedings.
We have a very strong track record of securing not guilty verdicts and also of securing lenient sentences for our clients where conviction cannot be avoided.
Funding your criminal defence
When arrested, you are entitled to free legal advice. Should you be prosecuted, some or all of the cost of your defence may be covered by a Representation Order (Legal Aid) depending on the circumstances of the case and your financial position.
Find out more about funding your criminal defence.
Contact our criminal law defence solicitors today
If you or a loved one have been arrested in connection to the EncroChat hack or are concerned about the possibility of arrest, please get in touch with our criminal defence team for urgent specialist advice and immediate representation.
Standard enquiries: 0333 009 8186 (National rates)
Out of hours: 07850 899999 (Out of hours)