Gangster: Catching the Kingpins


Critic Rating

A 6-part true crime podcast documenting the biggest organised crime bust in British policing history. It happens in 2020 when police in France penetrate an encrypted phone network called EncroChat. According to police, the phones were used exclusively by criminals. For over two months, police forces across Europe were reading the secret communications of major league criminal networks. The Metropolitan Police, working with the National Crime Agency and other forces, used this information to uncover the workings of organised crime groups. “It was like being in a room with them and they are talking freely, and they don't see you there,” says DCI Driss Hayoukane, the Senior Investigating Officer who led the Met’s EncroChat operation. Police went public about the EncroChat hack in July 2020. This is the first time that the inside story of some of the Met’s biggest EncroChat cases has been told to a broadcaster. Talking exclusively to BBC Sounds, police officers reveal how they used the gangsters’ messages to uncover arms dealing and expose murder plots as well as major drug trafficking and money laundering operations. Stories featured in the series include: - A murder plot unearthed by the Met in a joint operation with South Wales police. - Two apparently legitimate businessmen, living in a Buckinghamshire village, whose wealth really came from cocaine trafficking and major league money laundering, - A corrupt police officer who was working for a notorious London crime group. At a time when the Metropolitan Police Service has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, it’s a story of an extraordinary success: nearly 1000 arrests; over 400 convictions; the seizure of £19 million in cash, three tonnes of Class A and B drugs and 49 guns. Presenter Mobeen Azhar does not shy away from what have been difficult issues for the Met police: an officer from the Met’s anti-corruption unit speaks for the first time about how hacked EncroChat messages helped to expose the worst case of police corruption he had ever seen; and Mobeen asks the officer leading the Met’s EncroChat investigation about the experience of being an ethnic minority officer in a force found to be institutionally racist. Catching the Kingpins is a BBC Studios Production for BBC Sounds. Presenter: Mobeen Azhar Series Producer: Andrew Hosken Editor and Executive Producer: Innes Bowen Sound designer: Peregrine Andrews Assistant Commissioner: Lorraine Okuefuna Commissioning Editor: Louise Kattenhorn Production Executive: Laura Jordan-Rowell Creative Director for BBC Studios: Georgia Moseley Unit Manager: Lucy Bannister Production manager: Elaina Boateng Development Executive: Anya Saunders Editorial Policy Advice: Su Pennington Legal advice: Hashim Mude and Andrew Downey Consulting editor: Steve Boulton Production Co-ordinator: Juliette Harvey Thanks also to Beena Khetani, Adele Humbert, Hugh Levinson, Ali Rezakhani, Rhiannon Cobb, and Jack Griffiths.

Critic Reviews

Score: 5

Miranda Sawyer • The Guardian Jan 20, 2024

"This new series is slightly different. Hosted by the engaging Mobeen Azhar...This is a good yarn, and one of those rare true crime series that you don’t ever feel too scared or too icky about. But the real delight is in the detective work, the working out who’s who from little clues in the messages, such as a picture of a girlfriend’s dog. Excellent."

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Score: 5

Hannah Verdier • The Guardian Jan 11, 2024

"If you like your podcasts full of drug dealing, corruption and encrypted phone networks, this six-parter about the Met Police’s biggest organised crime bust will do the job."

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