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#Encrochat was a trading platform for arms, drugs, money laundering, killer’s hiring and more.

After large-scale illegal dealings in war weapons and drugs, a member of the Berlin Remmo clan and another dealer were sentenced to long prison terms in a so-called encrochat trial in Berlin.

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The 43-year-old clan member was sentenced to nine years in prison on Tuesday. A 23-year-old received eleven years. The Berlin Regional Court ruled that both had traded various weapons and drugs on a commercial basis using the Encrochat crypto messaging service.

So far it is probably the largest procedure in the capital, which is mainly based on the decryption of data from the messenger service Encrochat. After almost seven months of negotiations, the judges assumed sales proceeds of around 2.4 million euros in the case of the 23-year-old. The confiscation of compensation in this amount was ordered. In the case of the clan member, the confiscation of around 134,000 euros was ordered.

The two accused had acquired war weapons and other firearms as well as drugs in the spring of 2020 and traded with them, the verdict said. “These were highly professional and organized acts,” said the presiding judge.

The defendants finally admitted in the trial that they had conducted illegal transactions using Encrochat cell phones.

The encryption software was initially considered undecipherable. In 2020, however, investigators in the Netherlands and France managed to siphon off millions of secret data. According to the public prosecutor’s office, there are around 1.6 million chat messages and almost 750 users in Berlin alone. Several criminal proceedings have already ended in convictions.

The presiding judge went on to say that the court had no doubts about the usability of the Encrochat communication. The data are “real and reliable”. The two accused had dealt in various weapons, including those that fall under the War Weapons Control Act. The 43-year-old said in the process that he had received weapons “from a group of Albanians”.

Violation of the War Weapons Control and Weapons Act

According to the verdict, the man from the clan milieu is also said to have traded a total of four kilograms of cocaine. The 23-year-old’s case involved large-scale deals with cocaine, amphetamine and marijuana.

The proceedings against two other defendants were separated and suspended at the beginning of the year.

Those convicted were arrested in February 2021 in the proceedings for violations of the War Weapons Control and Weapons Act and illegal trafficking in narcotics and have been in custody since then.

Above all, the 43-year-old is known to the judiciary: the clan member has already been in prison for around 15 years. An appeal process is currently underway, in which the man is defending himself against another prison sentence. He was sentenced to three years and nine months in August 2021 because the court believed he was involved in a violent attack on a group of Chechens.

In the “Encrochat process”, the public prosecutor had demanded ten years and three months in prison against the 43-year-old and twelve years and three months against the 23-year-old.

The clan member’s defense attorneys had demanded around six years and accommodation in a rehab facility because of an existing drug problem. The verdict is not yet legally binding. (dpa)

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