#AceNewsReport – Aug.23: Sleekyak boasted that they were able to facilitate the sale of 10 to 20kg of the drug per week, and also discussed the laundering of £37,000….
#AceDailyNews reports that a drug dealer was busted by birthday blunder Under Operation Venetic – the UK law enforcement response to the takedown of the #EncroChat platform – the OCP began investigating a user named ‘Sleekyak’ who was using the service to sell cocaine…..
In total, officers uncovered 1,071 messages exchanged over a two month period between Sleekyak and 22 other users known to be involved in the class A drugs supply network. Twelve of the seventeen images they had exchanged were of what appeared to be kilo blocks of cocaine.
The OCP were able to attribute the encrypted device to Lee Broughton, 40 from Epsom. Encrochat messages from Broughton further corroborated that he was the user of the device in messages he sent to others stating it had been his birthday the previous day, which matched up with Broughton’s birthdate of 10 April.
NCA and Met officers arrested Broughton for Conspiracy to Supply Class A Drugs and money laundering on 31 March 2021 at his girlfriend’s house in Epsom, Surrey.
Broughton had 14 previous convictions for offences committed between 1997 and 2013. These included receiving two consecutive twelve month sentences in 2003 for cocaine and MDMA supply, and 42 months in 2013 for conspiracy to supply cocaine.
When interviewed, Broughton said that the deals that he was involved in were much smaller than he had suggested and that he’d mentioned large quantities to give a false impression of importance and get a better deal.
On 30 April 2021 Broughton pleaded guilty at Kingston Crown Court for the supply of cocaine, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison on 19th August.
DCI Mark Brookes, Head of the OCP said “Disrupting organised criminals and their wider networks is a crucial part of preventing Class A drugs from reaching streets in the UK: Broughton is a career drug supplier who for decades has sought to profit from a trade that fuels violence, misery and destroys the fabric of society. He attempted to use encrypted technology to evade detection, but we in UK law enforcement are determined to prevent criminals from operating with impunity: This investigation is yet another example of the NCA and Metropolitan Police Service working together to protect the UK public.”
#AceNewsReport – Aug.18: Mathew Badibango, of Manorwood Drive, Whiston, was jailed for twelve years at Liverpool Crown Court today (Monday 16 August) after pleading guilty to being concerned in the supply of Class A and B drugs.
So far, the ongoing work of Operation Venetic to unmask drug dealers using encrochat devices has seen more than 140 arrests, 110 charged and 34 people being sentenced to a total of 402 years in prison across Merseyside.
Badibango, used the encrochat handle ‘Bagbangboomboom’ to distribute large quantities of cannabis, cocaine, heroin and amphetamine across Merseyside from his Whiston home.
He was arrested in September last year and later charged.
Investigations continue to recoup ill-gotten gains under the Proceeds of Crime Act, and so far we have recovered £1.8 million in cash, 110kg of cocaine and heroin, and four firearms with ammunition.
Detective Chief Inspector Matthew Smith said: “Today we have seen another sentencing as part of national Operation Venetic, which came about after law enforcement officials in Europe managed to crack the ‘encrochat’ service being used by criminals involved in serious and organised crime to carry out their business.
“Badibango was supplying large amounts of illegal drugs and generating vast profits in doing so. He will now perhaps take time to reflect on the risks he took and the harm he caused, while serving his jail time.
“Our work to track these criminals down and bring down serious and organised criminal groups remain ongoing. To those who we haven’t got to yet, our message is clear … expect the knock at the door.
“Merseyside Police, along with law enforcement agencies across the world, will leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of those people who think they are above the law, and we will continue to target anyone involved in serious organised crime to keep this positive momentum going.”
#AceNewsReport – Aug.03: It is suspected that the man may have played a role in importing class A drugs into the UK from mainland Europe, through his position at a haulage firm based in Armagh.
#AceDailyNews reports that a Northern Ireland man has been arrested as part of NCA investigation after obtaining evidence from Operation #Venetic – the UK’s law enforcement response to the takedown of encrypted communications platform #EncroChat last year…
His arrest is also linked to a number of other arrests throughout the UK in the last twelve months. All those arrested are suspected to have played a role within the same organised crime group: The man was taken to Carlisle police station, where he remains for questioning….
NCA Belfast Branch Commander David Cunningham said: “We continue to work with partners to investigate a number of drug importations that can be linked back to hauliers in Northern Ireland: “ We remain committed to pursuing those involved in the trafficking of illicit drugs whose actions fuel violence and exploitation in our communities: “ Investigations into the actions of this suspected OCG continue.”
#AceNewsReport – July.27: Investigators from the OCP – a joint National Crime Agency and Metropolitan Police Service Unit – had been watching the group as they conducted multiple drugs and cash handovers in Gravesend, Kent, in the week prior to their arrests.
#AceDailyNews reports on the Venetic Investigation: Kent woman headed up family-run multi-million cocaine dealership: Nicola Stevens’ illegal business was brought down in April last year when she, along with the five other members of the criminal network, were arrested by the Organised Crime Partnership (OCP) via takedown of EncroChat
The group conducted their business via the encrypted messaging service EncroChat, which was taken down in July 2020 as part of Operation Venetic – the UK law enforcement response to the takedown of encrypted messaging service, EncroChat: Messages downloaded from their phones showed them arranging meetings to pick up or exchange drugs and money on a daily basis: Upon receiving a message that he was about to be delivered some cash, Coribel AKA ‘Dreamwalker’ replies, “And you want me to take to mum?”, referring to Stevens.
Stevens, 51, coordinated the group’s activity with her son-in-law and second in command, Luke Coribel, 32.
They were supported by three couriers – David Adeniji, 29, Kyle Hills, 32, and Quang Viet Pham, 29.
Her partner, Philip Spence, 52, helped launder the dirty cash.
On 14 April 2020, OCP officers watched Adeniji and Hills meet briefly on Hillingdon Road in Gravesend, before both driving separately the short distance to Coribel’s house on Gatwick Road.
Coribel came out of his house and opened the door to his van for Hills, who then transferred a large box from his own van to Coribel’s.
Officers then moved in and detained Hills but Coribel fled the scene on foot. The box was seized from his van and found to cocaine 20 kilos of cocaine. A further four kilos were found under the floorboards in his house.
Adeniji also attempted to drive away but was stopped and arrested a short time after.
At the same time, Stevens and Spence were arrested at their house on Rochester Road, where officers seized over £200,000 in cash, encrypted phones, a money counting machine and drug dealing paraphernalia.
Coribel handed himself in to a local police station two days later.
Officers arrested Pham a week prior to this, after he was seen picking up a bag of cash from Stevens. He had attempted to hide the bag in a specially constructed concealment in his van disguised as a Honda-branded generator.
A matching concealment was found in Adeniji’s car on the day of his arrest.
In another exchange sent during lockdown, Stevens AKA ‘Avocadovermouth’ tells Adeniji AKA ‘Powerroyal’, “Im going to look on line and buy you all hi viz jackets make you look like workers”.
Following Adeniji’s arrest, Stevens received a message telling her “Stay inside… They got royal (Adeniji).” She replied, “Who, the police?” and is then told, “Yes stay in hide money”.
Investigators were able to evidence that in total, the crime group were involved in the movement of over around 786 kilos of cocaine and £5 million in cash.
The total profit of the drugs sold by the group is believed to be at least £27.5 million.
Yesterday (23/07/2021) at Woolwich Crown Court, a jury found Stevens guilty of Conspiracy to supply cocaine and money laundering. Spence was convicted of money laundering.
They were also both sentenced today to 15 years and nine months respectively.
The other four members of the group had already pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs and money laundering on various dates.
They were each sentenced to between seven and eight years in jail but on 30 April 2021, a judge deemed their sentences too lenient and increased them as follows:
Coribel – 8 years 3 months – now sentenced to 13 years
Pham – 7 years 2 months – now sentenced to 12 years
Adeniji – 8 years 3 months – now sentenced to 13 years
Hills – 7 years 6 months – now sentenced to 11 years
John Coles, Head of Specialist Operations at the NCA said: This targeted investigation conducted jointly by the NCA and the Met Police has taken out an entire organised crime group who were responsible for distributing huge amounts of class A drugs throughout London and the home counties: Today’s convictions mean the last remaining members of the group, Stevens and Spence, will join the rest of their criminal family behind bars: Disrupting the organised crime groups responsible for bringing class A drugs into the UK is a priority for the NCA. Cocaine supply causes significant harm to the public through its links to violence and the exploitation of young and vulnerable people: Through our partnership with the Met, we’re able to ensure we’re targeting those higher up the drug supply chain and having a significant impact at a local level.”
Detective Superintendent Simon Moring from the Metropolitan Police Service said: “Tackling violence on the streets of London remains our absolute top priority: This operation has significantly disrupted the activities of an organised crime group intent on importing and distributing Class A drugs across not just London, but the entire of the United Kingdom: There is an undeniable link between drugs and violence on the streets. Many people may believe this level of organised crime has no impact on the day to day lives of the general public, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The drugs distributed by this group would have gone down the chain and ended up being sold on the streets of cities across the country: We will continue to develop and carry out operations of this scale and will continue to identify those involved in serious and organised crime and bring them to justice.”
#AceNewsReport – July.16: Officers carried out early morning warrants at six properties in Huyton, and following searches of the addresses quantities of suspected cocaine were seized…..
#AceDailyNews reports Operation #Venetic & takedown of #EncroChat that four people have been arrested and suspected cocaine seized in Huyton warrants as follows below:
A 23-year-old man from Huyton was arrested on suspicion of possession of cocaine with intent to supply.
A 39-year-old female from Huyton was arrested on suspicion of possession of cocaine with intent to supply.
A 30-year-old man from Huyton was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply cocaine, heroin and cannabis.
A 42-year-old man from Billinge was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply cocaine, heroin and cannabis.
It is now more than a year since news of Operation #Venetic and the takedown of #Encrochat – a mobile encryption service exploited by criminals involved in serious organised crime across the UK and Europe – became public. Since then we have arrested more than 130 people, charged more than 100 and seen 31 people convicted and jailed for a total of 366 years.
Detective Inspector Christopher Lowe said: “Those involved in the supply and distribution of dangerous drugs have no regard whatsoever for the misery they cause, which is why proactive activity such as this is vital in disrupting criminal activity and putting individuals involved before the courts: This operation continues apace and we will continue working closely with forces up and down the country, as well as North West Regional Organised Crime Unit and the National Crime Agency, to protect our communities and prevent harmful drugs from reaching vulnerable people in Merseyside: We cannot do this without the help of the public and would urge anyone with information on the supply of drugs or individuals involved in serious and organised crime, to please get in touch, either directly through us or through Crimestoppers, completely anonymously.”
Chief Inspector Duncan Swan said: “Those involved in the supply of drugs are often responsible for violent incidents on our streets in Knowsley. Every time officers disrupt the activity of criminals by arresting suspects and seizing illicit drugs and cash, it removes their ability to cause further harm and to use the misery of others to line their pockets: We will go on do everything in our power to protect our communities because nobody should have to fear that a person living nearby may be involved in drug supply, or that the disputes criminals get involved in will spill out into their street: Every time someone buys drugs from criminals they are fuelling an illicit business that directly impacts the safety of people in our communities. I would urge anyone aware of drug dealing in their area to let us know so that we can take the direct action we have taken today, and improve the quality of life for people right across Merseyside.” Activity in the Huyton is ongoing today and the public are advised that extra police patrols will be out and about for the foreseeable to ensure your safety.
Anyone with information on drug dealing is asked to contact @MerPolCC, 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555 111.
#AceNewsReport – July.09: Detectives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Criminal Investigation Branch have today, Wednesday, 7 July arrested a 37 year old man as part of Operation Venetic in the Enniskillen area on suspicion of a number of offences; Including being concerned in the supply of Class A controlled drug and conspiring to fraudulently import Class A controlled drug.
#AceDailyNews reports that detectives have arrested a 37 year old man as part of Operation Venetic in the Enniskillen area on Wednesday as part of Operation Venetic and importing a Class A controlled drug ….
Detective Chief Inspector Hamilton said: “Detectives from Criminal Investigation Branch’s Organised Crime Unit continue to play their part in the UK’s biggest law enforcement operation against serious and organised criminality: He has been taken to custody where he remains at this time: This is an example of our ongoing commitment to bring those involved in criminal activity to justice. Working alongside our partner agencies, we will continue to disrupt the movements and activities of Organised Crime Gangs. We recognise the harm caused in our communities as a result of organised crime and we will continue to keep people safe from this activity.
“ Anyone with information about any criminality should contact police on 101 or anonymously through the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111, which gives people the power to speak up and stop crime and help us keep your community safe. You can also submit a report online using our non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/
#AceNewsReport – July.02: In July 2020, GMP alongside nearly ever law enforcement agency across the UK came together as part of the National Crime Agency led ‘Operation Venetic’ The huge scale operation saw enforcement agencies across the UK join together and share expertise in order to takedown ‘Encrochat’, a highly sophisticated global communication service which allowed organised criminal groups to communication with each other freely.
#AceDailyNews reports that Firearms, ammunition, class A and B drugs and over £2.5 million in cash seized as mammoth GMP operation reaches one year milestone with NCA led Operation Venetic and use of EncroChat network
Codenamed ‘Operation Foam’, the force wide operation has been in constant action for the past twelve months:
The operation was sparked after EncroChat was cracked by an international law team in May 2020, springing UK’s police forces and agencies across the country into collective and direct action.
GMP’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit launched a series of intricate investigations bringing together 16 teams of officers from across all ten districts of Greater Manchester.
To date, under Operation Foam, GMP has:
• Executed over 175 warrants across Greater Manchester • Arrested 167 people • Charged 128 people • Recovered 10 firearms and over 1100 rounds of ammunition • Seized approximately 12 kilos of class A and approximately 25 kilos of Class B drugs • Seized over 2.5 million in cash • Over £300,000 worth of property including luxury jewellery and vehicles.
Detective Chief Inspector Joe Harrop said: “Operation Foam has been a colossal operation that has brought together teams of specialist officers and detectives from across Greater Manchester Police who have carried out endless hours of meticulous investigative work in order to takedown the encrypted communication platform EncroChat: Over the past 12 months we have carried out countless warrants amounting to 167 arrests and 128 people being subsequently charged. These results are testament to the dedication and determination of all involved and their efforts have been integral in continuing GMP’s commitment to pursuing organised criminals and ensuring justice prevails: There’s no place for organised crime across Greater Manchester and the impact of drugs and criminal activity blights communities and can have serious lasting detrimental impact. GMP is committed to ensuring our communities are protected and safeguarded and Operation Foam will continue at pace to ensure we can fulfil this promise.”
Detective Superintendent Paul Denn from the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (NWROCU) said: Since the takedown of ‘EncroChat’ twelve months ago, our officers have continued to work together with our six North West police forces, to identify the criminals who were using the encrypted devices to carry out their illegal activity: Tackling serious and organised crime, and those who cause the most harm to our communities in the North West remains our top priority here at the NWROCU, and we will continue use all our specialist tactics to disrupt these dangerous offenders operating across our region: Since last July more than 400 people have been arrested across the North West and more than £16 million pounds in cash and 400kg of Class A and B drugs seized as part of Operation Venetic: I can reassure communities across the North West that we will leave no stone unturned – we will continue to interpret, analyse and share intelligence and data to target and dismantle the most hardened criminals in our region.”
#AceNewsReport – June.25: The investigation was launched after OCP officers analysed messages shared by Patru on EncroChat – the encrypted messaging platform that was brought down last year as part of Operation Venetic:
#AceDailyNews says ….Officers in Operation #Venetic a key-player in #EncroChat drugs and money laundering conspiracy jailed: Ervin Patru, from Albania, was arrested at his home in Harrow by officers from the OCP – a joint partnership between the NCA & MET in December 2020.
Using the handle ‘veteranbeer’, Patru exchanged 14,000 lines of messages about selling Class A drugs: In the messages Patru displays nervousness over law-enforcement activity and tells associates he was ‘frightened’ into briefly ceasing his communications: Messages were also found linking Patru to a previous OCP arrest, during which an Albanian national was found with 4 kilos of cocaine following a high-speed police chase. The ‘veteranbeer’ alias speaks of 4 ‘packets of ours’ which ‘got seized’ and expresses relief that a ‘fallen’ associate did not ‘talk’ and ‘**** everything up:
Patru was charged on 11 December 2020 with Class A drug supply and money laundering offences and remanded in custody: He pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced yesterday (22/06/2021) at Harrow Crown Court to 15 years in prison:
OCP Operations Manager Matt McMillan said: Disrupting the communications between criminals on digital platforms is a crucial part of preventing illegal drugs from reaching streets in the UK: The apprehensive tone of Patru’s messages indicates the success of our collective efforts to disrupt the trade in class A drugs, which fuels violence and exploitation: This investigation is yet another example of the NCA and Met Police working together to protect the public.”
#AceNewsReport – June.16: Jack Stanley Jones, 27, of Hey Park in Huyton, used the encrochat handle ‘feralwhale, and was jailed for 16-and-a-half years for playing a leading role in drug importation, which saw police seize 18kg of cocaine concealed in children’s Duplo boxes of lego:
He pleaded guilty to:
– Conspiracy to Supply a Class A Controlled Drug – Cocaine – Conspiracy to Supply a Class A Controlled Drug – Heroin – Conspiracy to Supply a Class A Controlled Drug – MDMA – Conspiracy to Supply a Class B Controlled Drug – Cannabis – Conspiracy to Supply a Class B Controlled Drug – Methamphetamine – Importation of a Class A controlled drugs into UK – Importation of a Class B controlled drug into UK – Conspiracy to produce cannabis – Conspiracy to convert criminal property
Venetic Investigation contuness From building blocks to cell blocks after three Liverpool men jailed for Encrochat drugs crimes
Officers gathered evidence from encro devices showing that Jones was involved in the importation and supply over 50kg of Class A drugs, multi-kilogram quantities of cannabis, and kilograms of MDMA. His encrypted messages revealed he was also making plans for the importation and transportation of large quantities of drugs via planes and boats, as well as via the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.
During the investigation, police recovered a total of 18kg of high purity cocaine from parcels which arrived in the UK from Holland, to Merseyside addresses linked to Jones. The wholesale value of the recovered cocaine was between £612,000 and £720,000 and the potential street value was up to £1,800,000.
Jones’ encrochat revealed his drug importation deals into the UK would make he and his associates “millers (millionnaires) in waiting” and “multimillionaires in a few months“.
Isaac Rasmussen, 28, from Heath Road Widnes, previously from the Huyton area used the encro handle ‘Intimatemode’. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine, conspiring to fraudulently evade a prohibition on the import of Class A drugs, and conspiring to fraudulently evade a prohibition on the import of Class B drugs. He has been jailed for 10 years.
Rasmussen was a trusted confidant of Jack Jones, having met in the Royal Navy where they were in the same regiment from 2009. The pair set up a courier transport company – named 998 after their Royal Marines troop number. During a search of Rasmussen’s Widnes home, police later found a photograph of their troop from the Commando Training Centre in 2009, which dated their association back to their Royal Navy days.
Rasmussen’s role also included collecting payment from the sale of the kilograms of cocaine that he and Jack Jones had imported into the UK. He admitted using his home address for the delivery of two imported drugs packages – the second of which was 6kg of high purity cocaine concealed in children’s Duplo boxes.
Paul Jones, 43, of Lincombe Road Roby, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine, possession with intent to supply a Class A drug, possession of cannabis, possession of criminal property, conspiring to fraudulently evade a prohibition on the import of Class A drugs. Jones allowed his home to be used for the delivery and storage of drugs packages from Holland – of which two were recovered by police and totalled over 12kg of high purity cocaine. He has been jailed for seven-and-a-half years.
Around 60,000 users of encrochat have now been identified worldwide, with about 10,000 of them in the UK – all involved in coordinating and planning the supply and distribution of drugs and weapons, money laundering and other criminal activity. Arrests are continuing across Merseyside as part of the operation.
Detective Inspector Lee Wilkinson said: “It is a brilliant result to see three more dangerous drugs criminals locked up as part of national Operation Venetic.
“The potential dangers of this enterprise were demonstrated further when one of their imported boxes containing a kilogram of high purity cocaine found its way into the hands of a young child who was mistakenly given it as a present, packaged in a Duplo lego box. It was only by fortune that one of the parents of the child opened the box and discovered the contents. The police were then called to recover the item.
“Despite Jack Jones’ boasts that they would soon be multimillionaires, their dreams of building a living – and a drugs empire – by bringing misery to our communities have now come crashing down around them.
“As part of Operation Venetic, Merseyside Police has so far arrested more than 125 people, many of whom have been charged with serious drug trafficking and firearms offences. More offenders will continue to appear before the courts, and with every one brought to justice our streets are made safer form the harm they can bring.
“Our message to other people who are involved in this type of criminality is clear: expect that knock at the door sooner rather than later.
“Merseyside Police will continue to be relentless and leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of those involved in serious organised crime in order to protect our communities.”
#AceNewsReport – May.30: Around 60,000 users of encrochat have now been identified worldwide, with about 10,000 of them in the UK – all involved in coordinating and planning the supply and distribution of drugs and weapons, money laundering and other criminal activity. Arrests are continuing across Merseyside as part of the operation
Operation Venetic Report: ‘Three Merseyside men jailed for over 40 years for #EncroChat drug crimes Alvis one of those sentenced used the encrochat handle ‘Laughingstorm’ and supplied Class A drugs using recognised criminal terminology over the encrypted messaging platform’
Jordan Alvis, 35, of Trent Close, West Derby, (below) was sentenced to nine years in prison at Liverpool Crown Court. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply ketamine and heroin and conspiracy to conceal criminal property.
Christopher Dentith, 29, of College View, Huyton, (below) was sentenced to 17 years and three months years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin, and possession of criminal property. He used the encrochat handle ‘Kindtailor’.
Jordan Quinn, 31, of Valiant Close, West Derby, (below) was sentenced to 14 years and three months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine, heroin and ketamine and possession of criminal property. Quinn used the encrochat handle ‘Wiredfork’ and was also attributed after revealing personal details about himself on encrochat.
Detective Sergeant Daniel Pilling said: “We have seen three more drugs criminals put behind bars as part of national Operation Venetic, which came about after law enforcement officials in Europe managed to crack the ‘encrochat’ service being used by criminals involved in serious and organised crime to carry out their business: They have now been jailed for a number of years and thankfully unable to bring drugs and misery to families across the north west and beyond: As part of Operation Venetic, Merseyside Police has so far arrested more than 120 people, many of whom have been charged with serious drug trafficking or firearms offences. This year will see a number of these people continuing to appear before the courts, and we welcome each and every one: Our message to other people who are involved in this type of criminality is clear: expect that knock at the door sooner rather than later: Merseyside Police, along with law enforcement agencies across the world, will leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of those people who think they are above the law, and we will continue to target anyone involved in serious organised crime to keep this positive momentum going.”
#AceNewsReport – May.28: He was arrested by a Merseyside OCP team – a partnership made up of officers from the National Crime Agency and Merseyside Police – on 9 April. Officers discovered a drugs laboratory in his garage which contained a drugs press and a large quantity of Class A drugs.
NCA REPORT: The OCP’s investigation into Taylor emerged from Operation #Venetic – UK law enforcement’s response to the take down of encrypted comms platform #EncroChat: Merseyside Organised Crime Partnership: Drug dealer jailed for nearly 13 years in success for new Merseyside Organised Crime Partnership: Stephen Taylor, 33, cut the drugs and organised deals from his home in Norlands Park, Cronton, Widnes: He admitted conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs and conspiracy to conceal criminal property at Liverpool Crown Court yesterday and was sentenced to 12 years and eight months.
Taylor used an Encro phone and was known by his ‘handle’ Vilecrusher.
Designer clothing, jewellery and watches worth tens of thousands of pounds, were also recovered from the address.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Lamb said: “We have seen another significant sentencing as part of Operation Venetic, a great example of our ongoing work with partners to tackle criminals involved in serious and organised crime: Taylor was supplying large amounts of illegal drugs and generating vast profits. He now has time to reflect on the harm he’s caused: His sentence should serve as a stark warning to others involved in drug dealing that we are pursuing you, and we will bring you to justice: The Organised Crime Partnership works with our partners at home and abroad and will leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of offenders who think they are above the law: The OCP was established to tackle high risk organised crime groups bringing drugs and firearms into the region and is funded by the Home Office.
#AceNewsReport – May.02: All three are due to appear at High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court today (29 April).
Operation Venetic: ‘Three men charged after amphetamine lab found in Warwickshire used after cracking EncroChat network’
John Keets, 40, of Middle Meadow, Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire; Keith Davis, 60, of Brayfield Lane, Chalfont St Giles, and Andrew Gurney, 50, of Middle Meadow Avenue, Quinton, Birmingham, were charged with various offences around the supply and production of drugs.
A 28-year-old woman and 36-year-old man – arrested at a building on the same site as the lab on Ullenhall Lane – have been bailed.
Members of the organised crime group were believed to be running the drugs operation using the encrypted phone network EncroChat.
The NCA believes they were producing around one tonne of amphetamine per month – worth £2million at wholesale and up to £10million at street level – for distribution to criminals throughout the country.
NCA Branch Commander Peter Stevens said: “This illicit drugs lab was producing extremely large amounts of amphetamine for distribution to crime groups across the UK and into our communities, bringing with it violence, fear, and exploitation.
“The operation, which required a huge amount of planning to ensure it was conducted safely, will have had a huge impact on the organised crime groups involved, depriving them of commodity and profit.
“This work also shows the value and power of working with law enforcement agencies, including Warwickshire Police who have provided specialist resources, to take down high-harm criminals.”
ACC Alex Franklin Smith from Warwickshire Police said: “The illegal drug trade causes great harm to communities across Warwickshire and the rest of the country. We have worked closely with our colleagues in the NCA to support this operation with significant and specialist resources and are confident that the impact it will have on the organised criminal gangs involved will be huge.
“We are absolutely committed to tackling the drugs trade and protecting the people of Warwickshire from all the harms it brings. This operation once again sends out the message that this offending will not be tolerated in our county.
“Such an operation taking place in such a quiet, rural location will no doubt have caused some concerns for people in the area. Our officers will be working with people in the local community in the coming days to provide reassurance.”
Searches of the farm buildings are ongoing, with support from specialist teams from West Midlands Police, West Midlands Fire Service and the West Midlands Ambulance Service.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.10: On 15 March last year officers at the Port of Brisbane discovered the drugs hidden in a specially adapted boom of the excavator: It had been lined with lead to mask 226 packages of MDMA concealed inside:
Operation Venetic: Six remanded over alleged Class A excavator conspiracy: ‘The men were all charged with conspiring to export Class A drugs after a joint investigation between the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) throughEncroChat messages’
After being emptied of the illegal load, the excavator was delivered to its intended recipient in Sydney.
NCA investigators analysing encrypted messages obtained as part of Operation Venetic – the UK investigation into the EncroChat network – uncovered an alleged criminal conspiracy by a London-based crime group to export drugs in heavy plant machinery to Australia.
EncroChat messages sent between January and June 2020 detailed plans to purchase the excavator in the UK, hand-drawn illustrations of the concealment within the boom, costs relating to the importation and confirmation that it had been loaded onto a Vessel in Southampton on 24 January and arrived in Brisbane seven weeks later.
Yesterday (Tuesday) six men appeared at Kingston Crown Court. They were remanded to appear again on 16 April for a pre-trial hearing.
The defendants are: Danny Brown, 53, of Kings Hall Road, Bromley, Kent; Stefan Baldauf, 61, of Midhurst Road, Ealing, London; Peter Murray, 57, of Trafalgar Road, Greenwich, London; William Sartin, 59, of Timberlong Lane, Basildon, Essex; Piotr Malinowski, 37, of De’Arn Gardens, Mitcham, London, and Tony Borg, 42, of Southwark Path, Basildon, Essex.
Two men aged 33 and 42 were also charged in Australia.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.10: Officers carried out a warrant in Huyton yesterday morning, detained a man, and seized items including four kilos of suspected amphetamine, and cash: 30-year-old Samuel Lewis of Mardale Road, Huyton has now been charged with; conspiracy to supply cocaine, ketamine, cannabis; and possession with intent to supply amphetamine: He will appear at Wirral Magistrates today, Friday 9 April:
Operation Venetic: ‘Man charged with drug offences following warrant in Huyton: The charge forms another part of the Merseyside Police response to the national investigation into the use of encrypted mobile devices, commonly referred to as EncroChat’
Man charged with drug conspiracy offences following activity in West Derby Village: The arrests form another part of the Merseyside Police response to Operation Venetic: the national investigation into the use of encrypted mobile devices, commonly referred to as Encrochat.
Detective Sergeant John Molyneux said: “Although the man in question attempted to evade arrest, he was found following a thorough search. We’d like to thank other residents for their patience as our enquiries were being carried out, and these three people will now be questioned: “ If you have any information about suspected drug supply or storage where you are, please come forward directly or via Crimestoppers anonymously and we will take action.”
Update – Friday 9 April
Detectives have charged a man with drug offences following activity in West Derby Village yesterday, Thursday 8 April.
28-year-old Adam Plant of Downfield Close, West Derby Village has been charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine, heroin, ketamine and cannabis. He appeared at Wirral Adult Remand Court this morning and has been remanded in custody to appear at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday 7 May.
A man and a woman also arrested yesterday have been released under investigation pending further enquiries.
This investigation forms another part of the Merseyside Police response to Operation Venetic: the national investigation into the use of encrypted mobile devices, commonly referred to as Encrochat.
Detectives have arrested three people on suspicion of drug supply offences following activity in West Derby Village this morning, Thursday 8 April.
Officers attended at an apartment in Downfield Close to locate a suspect who was found attempting to hide.
A 28-year-old man from West Derby, was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A and Class B drugs, and possession of criminal property.
A man and woman, aged 38 and 34 respectively, were also arrested at the location on suspicion of possession with intent to supply cannabis after drugs and cash were found (pictured).
All three people have been taken to police stations for questioning.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.07: The National Crime Agency launched an investigation last summer after parcels of MDMA destined for addressed across the world were intercepted:
Operation Venetic Report: Global dark web drug network dismantled: ‘Analysis of messages shared on EncroChat – the encrypted messaging platform brought that enabled officers to identify individuals believed to be involved in supplying the drugs and laundering money using cryptocurrency’
A total of 90 kilos of MDMA, 134 kilos of Amphetamine and more than 6000 Diazepam/alprazolam tablets, with a combined street value of £4.3 million, have been recovered during the investigation.
Two men, aged 24 and 31, were arrested today at addresses in South Shields and Hebburn respectively, on suspicion of importing and supplying Class A, B and C drugs. They remain in custody for questioning. An address in Epsom, London, was also searched, along with other addresses in South Sheilds.
Officers seized mobile phones, computers and drug packaging paraphernalia.
The NCA were supported by officers from US Homeland Security Investigations, North East Special Operations Unit (NERSOU), Northumbria Police and Surrey Police.
NCA Operations Manager Martin Clarke said: “This action against an organised crime group supplying drugs via the dark web has dismantled a well-established operation: “ We have worked closely with partners in the US to target the individuals involved, who are ultimately preying on the vulnerable and destroying communities: “ This investigation shows that those who try to use the dark web and encrypted communication devices to anonymously commit crimes can be identified: “ There are two people from South Shields we are still seeking, who we believe are overseas. They know they are wanted, and I would encourage them to hand themselves in.”
US Homeland Security Investigations Attaché Eric Felman said: “One of our top priorities as an agency is to disrupt and dismantle international narcotic smuggling activities at home and around the globe: “The strong partnership between Homeland Security Investigations and the National Crime Agency continues to produce positive results in combatting organised international crime affecting both of our countries.”
Officers discovered the drugs were being imported from the Netherlands to the UK and then sold on the dark web under four handles – HundredsUK, Hundredsandthousands, Sundaefundae, and 100and1000s.
Packages containing MDMA, which were intercepted by NCA and Border Force officers in June and July last year, were destined for addresses in the UK, America, Israel, Norway, Thailand, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur.
One crime group member, Mubinar Rahman, aged 25, from South Shields, who was arrested last July and admitted posting over 100 packages, is due to be sentenced on 21 April at Newcastle Crown Court.
#AceNewsReport – Mar.30: National Crime Agency (NCA) investigators arrested Braheem Abdullah, 38, in Cheetham Hill, Manchester, on Wednesday (24/03/2021) and a 41-year-old man at Central Park Police Station, north Manchester, on Thursday (25/03/2021)
Operation Venetic: ‘Two arrested following £1.6m Manchester cocaine seizure: ‘Two men have been arrested after cocaine worth £1.6m was seized in Manchester as part of Operation Venetic investigation into EncroChat’
26 March 2021
Abdullah (also known as Dwaine George) of Mariman Drive, Manchester, was subsequently charged with conspiracy to import Class A drugs. He was remanded in custody until his appearance at Manchester City Crown Court on 22 April.
The other man was arrested for breach of bail, and further interviewed in relation to the offence he was on bail for – suspicion of importation of Class A drugs. He was bailed pending further inquiries.
Officers seized the high-value cocaine at a joiners yard in Wade Street, north East Manchester in April last year through Operation Venetic – the UK-wide law enforcement response that helped bring down encrypted messaging platform Encrochat.
NCA operations manager Ian McConnell said: “The actions of our officers in seizing this cocaine deprived criminal groups of a significant amount of profit: “ This week’s arrests are yet another example of our efforts to apprehend individuals suspected of profiting from drug trafficking.”
#AceNewsReport – Mar.20: He has been remanded in custody until Friday 16 April when he will appear at Liverpool Crown Court:
Op Venetic: Wirral man charged with drug offences: Daniel Wilson, 33, of Silverbeech Road, Poulton was charged with eight counts of Conspiracy to Supply Class A and B Drugs and one count of Conspiracy to Conceal/Disguise/Convert/Transfer/Remove Criminal Property using #EncroChat
The charges are part of a national investigation into the supply of cocaine, and forms part of the Merseyside Police response to Operation Venetic: a national investigation into the use of encrypted mobile devices, commonly referred to as #EncroChat.
#AceNewsReport – Mar.17: Analysis of messages acquired as part of Operation Venetic – an investigation into the encrypted messaging platform EncroChat – supported the investigation.
Operation Venetic: Eight arrested in connection with industrial scale Amphetamine production plot: ‘Members of a suspected criminal group accused of trafficking heroin and producing amphetamine worth millions of pounds have been arrested today as part of an investigation linked throughEncroChat’
Officers believe they were planning to produce large quantities of amphetamine at a location in Scotland, as well as trafficking heroin from Scotland to Merseyside: The group, aged between 34 and 66, remain in custody: On 4 December 2020, as part of the same investigation, more than 620kg of APAA – a substance used in the manufacture of amphetamine – was seized and two men arrested after arriving on a flight from Turkey: Both were later released under investigation.
Ian McConnell, NCA Operations Manager, said: “Producing amphetamine on an industrial scale would have devastating consequences for the community – drug trafficking thrives on inciting violence, spreading fear and exploiting vulnerable children and adults for criminal gain: “ Today’s action has led to the arrest of eight suspected members of an organised crime group and will continue to target those at the top of the drug market chain, to make their businesses unviable and keep people safe.”
#AceNewsReport – Mar.13: Thomas Brabbins, 28, of Cherry Tree Road, Huyton, was sentenced to seven years six months at Liverpool Crown Court yesterday (Thursday 11 March).
Operation Venetic Report: ‘Fifth man jailed after criminal encrochat service cracked: Brabbins used the Encrochat handle ‘coastalsummer’ to manufacture and distribute large quantities of cocaine and cannabis from his Huyton home’
He pleaded guilty to:
• Conspiracy to Supply Class A Drugs – Cocaine • Conspiracy to Supply Class B Drugs – Cannabis • Possession of Class B Drugs With Intent to Supply – Cannabis • Possession of Criminal Property – Cash & Watches • Possession of Criminal Property – Cash • Possession of Class B Drugs – Cannabis
On Sunday 14 June, officers executed a Misuse of Drugs Act Warrant and found cash totalling more than £30,000 and two Rolex watches valued at more than £10,000 at Brabbins’ home address. He was arrested, interviewed and later released under investigation.
On Thursday 12 November, Brabbins was seen to be acting suspiciously when officers stopped a car he was travelling on Brodie Avenue. He was found to be in possession of three mobile phones and more than £2,000 in cash. He was subsequently arrested and later charged.
A total of five Merseyside men have been jailed this year after the operation, which has involved European law enforcement agencies working with the NCA and supported across the UK by police forces and Regional Organised Crime Units.
The operation came about after law enforcement officials in Europe managed to crack the ‘encrochat’ service being used by criminals involved in serious and organised crime to carry out their business. Arrests are continuing on Merseyside as part of this operation.
Around 60,000 users of encrochat have been identified worldwide, with about 10,000 of them in the UK – all involved in coordinating and planning the supply and distribution of drugs and weapons, money laundering and other criminal activity.
Detective Sergeant Anthony Meakins said: “The sentencing yesterday shows just how seriously police and the courts take those organised criminals who supply drugs across Merseyside and beyond: Thomas Brabbins was supplying large amounts of illegal drugs and generating vast profits in doing so. He will now perhaps take time to reflect on the risks he took and the harm he caused, while serving his jail time: “ Brabbins thought that by using encrypted devices he could evade justice. He was wrong, and he won’t be last to realise this: “ As part of Operation Venetic, Merseyside Police has so far arrested more than 70 people, many of whom have been charged with serious drug trafficking or firearms offences. This year will see a number of these people continuing to appear before the courts, and we welcome each and every one: “ Merseyside Police, along with law enforcement agencies across the world, will leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of those people who think they are above the law: “ Merseyside and many areas of the UK are safer thanks to this operation, and we will continue to target anyone involved in serious organised crime to keep this positive momentum going.”