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Tech & Science Police blow up criminal Telegram chat groups

14:55  30 october  2020
14:55  30 october  2020 Source:   dw.com

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It was about drugs, forged documents, stolen data: For months, investigators had been targeting chat groups in the Telegram messenger service. Now they struck.

Provided by Deutsche Welle © picture-alliance / dpa / M. Becker Provided by Deutsche Welle

In the fight against cyber crimes, the Federal Criminal Police Office and the Frankfurt am Main Public Prosecutor's Office have broken up several criminal chats on the Telegram messenger service with thousands of members. A total of nine chat groups with around 8,000 members on the Internet have been "taken over and secured", the investigators said. Among other things, drugs, weapons and forged documents were traded in the groups.

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Large raid in Germany

28 accused from Germany and Austria have been identified so far, it said. Investigators raided them in six federal states in Germany and in Vorarlberg in Austria. The German authorities are investigating 13 suspects between the ages of 18 and 54 years.

Kriminelle greifen gerne auf den Messengerdienst zurück © picture-alliance / dpa / D. Chatterjee Criminals like to use the messenger service

During the raid, investigators confiscated more than four kilograms of drugs, eight weapons, data carriers and smartphones as well as 8,000 euros in cash. Two men from the Offenbach district were arrested. An arrest warrant had already been issued against one of them. The investigation had been ongoing since June.

Telegram popular with criminals

According to the judicial authorities, Telegram has been increasingly used as an alternative to other platforms in the Darknet when trading illegal goods and services for one or two years. In some publicly accessible channels and chat groups, illegal business is initiated and then processed in separate chats between individual users, explained Chief Public Prosecutor Benjamin Krause.

Telegram says it guarantees its users complete encryption: messages, videos and photos would be sent to individual contacts or entire groups via mobile phone without the secret services being able to easily access them. Again and again, the service was criticized for the fact that it cooperates less than other providers with the authorities.

se / pg (afp, dpa)

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