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EncroChat News: Encrypted phone messages link Belfast man to international drugs distribution net

ENCRYPTED phone messages link a Belfast man to an international drugs distribution network, the High Court has heard.

Prosecutors claimed James Thomas McGrogan (35) was involved in a clandestine operation targeted by law enforcement agencies who infiltrated secret data systems.

McGrogan, of Haypark Avenue, faces charges of conspiracy to possess and being concerned in the supply of cocaine and cannabis.

He is further accused of entering an arrangement to acquire criminal property. The alleged offences were committed on dates between March and June 2020.

McGrogan was arrested as part of wider investigations into suspected drug dealers who used the encrypted platform EncroChat to communicate.

Law enforcement agencies across Europe extracted and shared data after servers in France were accessed.

During a bail application a prosecution lawyer claimed McGrogan is connected to serious criminality based on examination of mobile phone devices.

“It is believed by police that the applicant is part of an organised crime gang who distributed drugs throughout Northern Ireland and further afield,” she said.

The court heard McGrogan, who previously spent a period living in Spain, was returned to custody after allegedly breaching a prohibition on having a phone with internet access.



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