Police announced discovery of find drug gang’s sound-proofed torture chamber dubbed ‘the treatment room’, in a warehouse south of Rotterdam
The torture chamber which was hidden in a container had dentist chair, pliers, box cutters, scalpels and hedge trimmers hidden in Dutch sea container
Dutch police was aided in the discovery by French police cracking the phone system EncroChat after cracking messages that revealed the existence of the designated horror chamber
After intercepting menacing messages exchanged by suspects under surveillance, cops alerted potential victims to go into hiding
Dutch authorities arrested six men on June 22 on suspicion of crimes including preparing kidnappings and serious assault
Dutch police find the ‘dentist chair’, in the ‘Treatment Room’ owned by a drug gang inside ta warehouse in Wouwse Plantagenet, Netherlands, where prisoners would have been strapped in and tortured
The sound-proofed shipping container, which held a dentist chair equipped with restraints, was discovered in a warehouse in Wouwse Plantage, a village south of Rotterdam in southwestern Netherlands, close to the border with Belgium.
Heavily armed drug anti-crime officers raided the warehouse last month after the worldwide underground criminal phone system EncroChat was cracked, leading to the arrest of thousands of criminal operatives worldwide – 746 of those underworld kingpins in Britain alone.
The messages from an EncroChat phone tipped police off about warehouse, called the ‘treatment room’ and the ‘ebi,’ a reference to a top security Dutch prison.
After putting the warehouse under surveillance police spotted several men working to kit out the prison cells from mid-April, who they were able to identify from the messages. – a 44-year-old man from Nieuwegein, a prime suspect from The Hague and his 43-year-old accomplice from Rotterdam
Police saw photos of the ‘treatment room’ on encrypted chats before the raid. The chair had belts attached to the arm and foot supports.
Police were able to conduct the raid after the French police cracked their communications network and encrypted criminals’ phones to read millions of messages in a mass investigation named 26Lemont.
The torture chamber had not received it’s first batch of torture victims, said Dutch authorities, who alerted potential victims to go into hiding after cracking messages that revealed the existence of the designated horror chamber.
Threatening messages found on the infiltrated communications network, run by a mysterious Dutch firm, found that gang members had refereed to the container as the ‘treatment room’.
A series of messages referenced the torture room and prisons, with one criminal under surveillance stating: ‘If I have him on the chair more will come’, then adding ‘but that dog is missing’.
Hammers, wire cutters, pliers, box cutters and even a hedge trimmer were set up for use on victims
Some were even equipped with a chemical toilet.
Dutch authorities arrested six men on June 22 on suspicion of crimes including preparing kidnappings and serious assault.
In searches of other properties, including what police described as a base for the criminals near the port city of Rotterdam, officers found police uniforms and body armor, stolen vehicles, 25 firearms and drugs leading to one suspect being detained.
A video of the raid taken by Dutch authorities shows a container with handcuffs and a single chemical toilet
They were tipped off by messages from an EncroChat phone including photos of the container and dentist’s chair with belts attached to the arm and foot supports. The messages called the warehouse the “treatment room” and the “ebi,” a reference to a top security Dutch prison.
The messages also revealed identities of potential victims, who were then warned by police and went into hiding.
Video released by Dutch police showed a heavily armed SWAT team blasting open a door at the warehouse and discovering the improvised prison.
‘Six of the containers were intended as cells in which people could be tied up and one container was intended as a torture chamber,’ Andy Kraag, head of the police’s National Investigation Service, said in a video released by police.
A search of the containers uncovered bags containing tools including hedge cutters, scalpels and pliers.
The tools ‘were likely intended to torture victims or at least put them under pressure,’ the police statement said.
Dutch police use explosives to enter a building where a torture chamber is hidden in a shipping container in Wouwse Plantage, Netherlands.
In searches of other properties, including what police described as a base for the criminals near the port city of Rotterdam, officers found police uniforms and body armor, stolen vehicles, 25 firearms and drugs.
The whole investigation has lead to more than 100 suspects, seized more than 8,000 kilograms of cocaine, seized over 1,200 kilograms of crystal meth, dismantled 19 synthetic drug labs and seized dozens of firearms.
Andy Kraag said that the police operation ‘prevented a number of violent crimes.’
In searches of other properties, including what police described as a base for the criminals near the port city of Rotterdam, officers found police uniforms and body armour, stolen vehicles, 25 firearms and drugs.
A heavily armed anti-crime squad blasted open a door at the warehouse and arrested over 100 suspects
‘This is a great result of the 26Lemont investigation,’ Kraag said. ‘And, take it from me, many more results will follow.’
The company EncroChat is shrouded in mystery, but is based in the Netherlands, and says it has addresses there as well as in Turkey and Latin America.
British police found that the handsets, bought by criminals for $1,893 [£1,500], each, had also been central to the planning of two gangland hits in UK.
Manchester based gangland boss Mark Fellows used the secret network when he assassinated rivals, Salford’s ‘Mr Big’ Paul Massey and another underworld rival, John Kinsella.
Fellows, also known as ‘Iceman’ for his ruthlessness, shot and killed Paul Massey on the doorstep of his Salford home in July 2015.
Three years later he downed mob enforcer and fixer Kinsella in a hail of bullets.
At his trial, it emerged that Fellows had been tipped off by an accomplice using the encrypted phone service when Kinsella was coming into range.
Asked about the unusual handset during his police interview, Fellows flippantly declared ‘No one even owns a normal phone these days’.
When they searched the containers they found tools including including hedge cutters, scalpels and pliers Dutch police search of Torture Chamber containers revealed torture tools including including hedge cutters, scalpels and pliers
Recent reporting has revealed how British police infiltrated a global crime spiderweb to dismantle huge chunks of criminal drugs, guns and people trafficking network spanning the globe after four years of trying.
After two months of planning, a network of investigators in major cities across the UK simultaneously struck kingpins all over the country.
That success is tied to the fact that back in April, at the peak of the covid-19 lockdown in Europe, police in France and the Netherlands finally infiltrated the EncroChat platform.
The phone system, similar to a walkie talkie system allowed users to send encrypted communications and offered a secure mobile phone instant messaging service believing that they were safe from detection.
There were 60,000 users worldwide. The sole use was for coordinating and planning the distribution of illicit commodities, money laundering and plotting to kill rival criminals.
But detectives infiltrated the system – and brought the crime syndicate down in June.
EncroChat [photo, left], was a secret platform where users were able to communicate privately between specially-designed handsets – often to run drugs, traffic people and even order murders.
These devices, costing $1,893 [£1,500], are usually Android-based smartphones that had their GPS sensors, microphones, and cameras stripped out, encrypted chat apps installed by default to allow people to sent private messages. It is now emerging that criminal syndicates across the world had one with a network of 60,000 users.
Marketed as the electronic equivalent of two people having a conversation in an empty room, it enabled users to send written messages or make voice calls through an encrypted system.
Investigators say that the platform, which was not in itself illegal, was designed to be secure against unwanted outside access, and in countries like the UK, was used purely for criminal purposes.
Since the breach, the Encrochat platform has shut down.