Encrypted chat data leads to major drug raids in Germany

BERLIN — German security officials said Tuesday they made more than 750 arrests and seized large amounts of drugs after gaining access to extensive chat data of encrypted cellphones.

The focus of the investigation, which started in April 2020, was on data from users of the provider Encrochat who were involved in the illegal drug trade, Frankfurt prosecutors and the country’s Federal Crime Police Office said in a written statement.

Dutch and French officials helped with the investigation, the statement said.

Investigators seized 3.2 metric tons (3.5 short tons) of cannabis, about 320 kilograms (700 pounds) of synthetic drugs, more than 125,500 ecstasy pills, almost 400 kilograms (880 pounds) of cocaine and 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of heroin, authorities said.

They also confiscated 310 weapons, more than 12,200 rounds of ammunition and assets worth 168 million euros ($223 million).