“We got over-confident with Encro. It was like we thought we were untouchable,” said a wholesale heroin and cocaine dealer based in Bradford, West Yorkshire, who spoke to VICE World News via criminologist Dr Mo Qasim, a visiting research fellow at the University of Bradford.
“There were so many people talking so blatantly about drugs and what they got and for how much. No code words, nothing,” said the dealer, who started using EncroChat not long before users were alerted to the hack.
“It was like we thought that the police would never find out about this chat. Some people around here were being watched for months, the police were just waiting their time. They had so much dirt on them from Encro there was no way they were getting away.”
Another cocaine and heroin supplier from Bradford who spoke to Dr Qasim said he has seen an array of drug suppliers taken out by the hack, all of whom were swiftly replaced.
“Encro took out some big boys. But there were also people locked up who we didn’t even know were drug dealers; they were so secretive but Encro exposed them. People were being busted all over the place. After the first arrests [in 2020] business slowed down a bit, because prices [per kilo] went stupid.
But it was not for long, because COVID came along and there was even more demand for drugs, people were sat at home and needed them. You saw more people around here start selling drugs after Encro who were not selling before.”
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