EncroChat ‘encoded’ phone network busted by cops with hundreds of gangsters jailed


Drugs kingpins and bent police officers were among 2,631 suspects held as a result of encrypted EncroChat messages being hacked with more than £75million seized along with 165 firearms, 3,404 rounds of ammo, 5.6 tons of Class A drugs and 8.7 tons of cannabis

Police execute an early morning raid on Hawthorne Drive, Glossop and make their 200th arrest as part of operation Venetic.
Officers make their 200th arrest as part of the extensive Operation Venetic

Hundreds of gangsters have been jailed after Britain’s biggest ­organised crime probe infiltrated a secret phone network.

Figures show 1,384 suspects have been charged so far as part of Operation Venetic, the National Crime Agency-led investigation into EncroChat.

Of those, 260 have been jailed while more than £75million has been seized along with 165 firearms, 3,404 rounds of ammo, 5.6 tons of Class A drugs and 8.7 tons of cannabis.

The average sentence is just under 10 years, Mirror analysis of 92 ­convictions since summer found.

Kingpins and bent officers were among 2,631 suspects held as a result of encrypted messages being hacked.

Organised criminals used the service
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UGC)

Jordan Talbot, 29, of Elson Road, Formby, admitted conspiring to supply Class A drugs, conspiring to supply Class B drugs and possessing criminal property
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Liverpool Echo)

One of the longest jail terms was given to £27m drugs boss Jordan Talbot who texted “EncroChat is f***ed the plod cracked them”.

Using the handle “Littlenev”, he and his three accomplices exchanged 7,000 messages in 10 weeks. Talbot, of Formby, Merseyside, was jailed in August for 21 years and nine months.

Gary Mitchell, of Wallasey, Merseyside, was jailed for 15 years after he posted a photo of cannabis and police identified his fingerprints from images.

Carl Stewart used the EncroChat encryption service in a bid to evade detection, adopting the handle ‘Toffeeforce’ to cover his tracks as he supplied large amounts of class A and B drugs
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Merseyside Police)

Carl Stewart, of Vauxhall, Liverpool, was also identified from his fingerprints after sharing a photo of his favourite cheese.

Businessman Steven Strachan, of the Wirral, was secretly a drug dealer known as “fastsilver”, who was jailed for six years after showing his garden.

Daniel Wilson, 33, a BT engineer, who boasted of selling cocaine, was also caught through images of his garden.

Daniel Wilson was a BT engineer who lived a double life and bragged about his multikilogram cocaine deals on EncroChat
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Liverpool ECHO)

Steven Strachan, 49, of School Lane, Bidston, Wirral, admitted conspiring to supply Class A cocaine and Class B cannabis, ketamine, amphetamine, along with a charge of possessing criminal property
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Liverpool Echo)

South London drug dealer Lee Broughton is serving 10 years after he revealed his birthday on the network.

NCA officers, who believed the “entire system user base were criminals”, found more than 200 “threats to life” in which gangsters plotted to kidnap, torture and execute rivals.

They revealed they had been probing EncroChat since 2016, and then in 2019 French authorities discovered a server that hosted the now-discontinued service.

Police executed an early morning raid for their 200th arrest in Operation Venetic
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KBP)

On April 3 last year, British officers received the first hacked messages from some of Britain’s 9,000 users.

NCA director of investigations Nikki Holland said: “The infiltration of this command and control platform for the UK’s criminal marketplace is like having an inside person in every top organised crime group in the country.”

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www.mirror.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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