In a riveting narrative set to captivate listeners, a brand-new true crime podcast, “Gangster Presents… Catching the Kingpins,” delves into the murky underworld of drugs, money laundering, and attempted murder. Set to premiere on BBC Sounds and BBC Radio 4 from January 7, the six-part series unveils the clandestine operation that dismantled the notorious EncroChat phone network, a hub for criminal activities across the UK and Europe.

Helmed by investigative journalist Mobeen Azhar, the podcast unravels the real-life, pan-European police sting that led to thousands of arrests and hundreds of prosecutions. Offering a behind-the-scenes look, Azhar exposes captivating tales of crime and unforeseen revelations. Among the shocking stories unveiled are:

  1. Two seemingly legitimate businessmen in a Buckinghamshire village, whose affluent facade concealed involvement in cocaine trafficking and high-level money laundering.
  2. A corrupt police officer operating within the ranks of a notorious London crime group.
  3. A murder conspiracy unearthed through a collaborative effort between the Metropolitan Police and South Wales police.

Mobeen says: “This podcast is about more than arrests and prosecutions. It’s the story of the Metropolitan Police’s role in the biggest organised crime bust in British policing history, led by the National Crime Agency. We detail just how organised the world of organised crime in the UK is right now. We explore how smart technology plays a pivotal role. We gained genuine access to the Metropolitan Police detectives who solved the crime so, expect first-hand accounts of how clues were pieced together, evidence was collected and cases against career criminals were built.”

Each episode focuses on a distinct case, contributing to an overarching narrative that unravels how criminal gangs exploited EncroChat for their illicit activities. Metropolitan Police officers, speaking exclusively to BBC Sounds, disclose how they utilized criminals’ messages to unveil arms dealing, expose murder plots, and dismantle major drug trafficking and money laundering operations.

Reflecting on the decryption of the phone network, DCI Driss Hayoukane, the Senior Investigating Officer leading the Met’s EncroChat operation, stated, “It was like being in a room with them and they are talking freely, and they don’t see you there.”

Mobeen added: “Every episode builds on the last. The access is astounding and so are the stories. The Metropolitan Police even share how this operation revealed corruption amongst their own staff.

“At a time when the Met are often in the headlines for the wrong reasons, this is rare insight into an extraordinarily successful bust.”

“Gangster Presents… Catching the Kingpins” will be available as a boxset on BBC Sounds starting from January 7 and will air weekly on BBC Radio 4 at 1.30 pm. Commissioned by BBC Radio 5 Live and Radio 4, the podcast is produced by BBC Studios, with Andrew Hosken as the producer and Innes Bowen as the executive producer. The commission was undertaken by Louise Kattenhorn for BBC 5 Live and Radio 4.