Technology makes everything much easier for people to make the impossible, possible. A large fraction of the world’s population use smartphones, enabling them to use the messaging app, Sky ECC. This app also led to the capture of alleged drug kingpin, Ylli Didani.
Messaging App’s Role in the Cocaine Crackdown
For six years, federal agents didn’t stop investigating Ylli Didani and his cocaine packed in banana boxes consigned international freighters. They traversed five continents and 15 countries to check court records, make interviews, and used state-of-the-art gadgets.
The information surfaced 10 months following the accused Detroit drug kingpin’s arrest. Authorities collaborates a worldwide hunt for pieces of evidence. They also asked reinforcement from foreign officials to help see to it that the alleged Detroit drug kingpin won’t escape prosecution.
According to court records, 44-year-old Didani profited over $111.5 million. He managed his drug empire by using the messaging app, Sky ECC. Messages autodestruct, but federal agents were somehow able to acquire photos of the exchanged text messages between Didani and his accomplices.
The messages include chats regarding drug trafficking and money laundering. Federal agents also attempt to get hold of Sky ECC communications recovered in France, which involves Didani. They are still waiting for the assistance of officials from other countries that have regard to the investigation.
“Ylli is a family man who is presumed innocent. Remember, it is always easier for prosecutors to make allegations on paper than it is to substantiate and prove those allegations in a courtroom. And it is there, in a court of law, where we will defend our client,” said Wade Fink, Didani’s defense lawyer.
Drug Ring Developed Ties with Other Countries Through Messaging App
Prosecutors claim that the alleged drug kingpin’s drug syndicate operates in Metro Detroit since August 2016. It developed ties with other countries namely; Albania, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, and Dominican Republic. Other countries included are Ecuador, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.
Additionally, the drug network was producing unlimited amount of cash by summer 2016, the prosecutors noted. Didani sent messages considering the necessity to search for a person who can help secretly transfer million dollars’ worth of money. That particular person must be able to covertly transfer $111.5 million from Deutsche Bank (Frankfurt, Germany) to a Dubai bank. The information is according to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration task force officer Brandon Leach.
Investigators found that Didani and his partners in crime utilized mobile phones encrypted with a software from Sky Global. It’s a Canadian service provider and communications network. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy McDonald and Mark Bilkovic wrote in a court filing.
Justice Department authorities officially requested French correspondents to get of seized the messaging app’s texts from European officials. However, the government’s filing doesn’t disclose how they secured the messages.
Disruptions in the Drug Syndicate’s Operation
In 2019 and 2020, Didani’s drug syndicate faced some major problems. Authorities sequestered over 3.400 kilos of cocaine worth over $100 million. It includes cocaine concealed in a banana cargo ship bound for Netherlands.
In March last year, Belgium, France, and the Netherlands deactivated the network after encroaching into the messaging app. The operation’s discontinuation resulted from the incarceration of at least 80 individuals and hundreds of raids throughout Europe. Amid the two-year investigation, the law enforcement anticipated 1 billion messages and confiscated over 17 tons of cocaine.
Less than a month following Sky ECC’s shutdown, drug kingpin Didani was arrested. Police officials captured him at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, N.C. Investigators also seized an 18-karat gold, black-and-clear, diamond bracelet worth $3,200. They also sequestered a stainless steel, ceramic Rolex Yacht-Master II watch worth $12,000.
French authorities confirmed that they’ll be able to hand over the Sky ECC messages in a month’s time. The government will have enough preparation time for Didani’s arraignment in around three months.
Didani would be facing another charge, which is conspiracy to supply drugs onboard a ship constrained by US drug laws. Currently, the Detroit drug kingpin is being confined at a Milan’s federal detention center, southwest of Detroit. He awaits trial regarding a drug conspiracy charge which could send him to a lifetime imprisonment.
From Bananas to Coconuts, Another Cocaine Shipment Bounds for Europe
Recently, Colombian authorities discovered 20,000 coconut shells contain liquid cocaine bound for Europe. They intercepted this massive consignment in Cartagena’s port city where the coconuts get ready to depart and head for Genoa, Italy. The anti-drug enforcement unit found out that what’s inside the coconuts are liquid cocaine rather than coconut water.
‘Upon inspection, it was established that the water in the tropical fruit had been exchanged for liquid cocaine,’ stated the Colombian national prosecutor’s office.
Colombian authorities are now collaborating with Italian enforcement in Genoa. They will try to find out the people behind the criminal network of illegal drug smuggling into Europe.
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