Crime gang sentenced, totalling more than 89 years in prison
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Nine men have been sentenced today (Monday 20 December) to a total of more than 89 years in jail for their part in a conspiracy to supply millions of pounds of drugs.
A year-long investigation called Operation Overboard targeted the organised crime group who worked together to deal the drugs across Merseyside.
Detectives discovered four of the defendants were using Encrochat on the dark web in an attempt to hide their criminality, but today they were jailed at Liverpool Crown Court. Offenders in the dock were:
Sean Burrell, 29 years, of Peacehaven Close, Childwall was sentenced to 13 years and six months for conspiracy to supply a controlled Class A drug, cocaine and diamorphine, conspiracy to supply a controlled Class B drug, cannabis, and conspiracy to produce a controlled Class B drug, cannabis. He went under the Encrochat handle ‘Misterbigarms’. Detectives identified Burrell as supplying in excess of 14.5kg cocaine as well as significant quantities of cannabis.
James Wright, 36 years, of Brewery Gardens, Gatecare was sentenced to 16 years for conspiracy to supply cocaine and diamorphine, conspiracy to supply cannabis and possessing criminal property. His Encrochat handle ‘Stunhun’ confirmed Wright as supplying more than 17kgs cocaine, 4kgs heroin and 30kgs of cannabis.
Martin McCoy, 42 years, of Bewey Close in Toxteth was sentenced to 16 months for conspiracy to supply cannabis. He used the Encrochat handle ‘Humantender’ and his sentencing was in relation to supplying at least 1kg of cannabis.
Thomas O’Brien, 43 years, Finch Lea Drive, Huyton was sentenced to 18 years for conspiracy to supply cocaine and diamorphine, and conspiracy to supply cannabis. His Encrochat handle ‘scarwars’ involved the supply of 12kgs cocaine and 2kgs of heroin. O’Brien’s case went to trial and he was found guilty by a unanimous verdict last month. This was the first trial involving Encro-chat data in Merseyside.
Michael Joseph, 56 years, of Rock Lane East, Birkenhead was sentenced to eight years and one month for possession cocaine with intent to supply.
Marvin Porcelli, 47 years, Rathbone Road, Wavertree was sentenced to seven years and six months for conspiracy to supply cocaine and diamorphine, and conspiracy to supply cannabis.
Steven Sinclair, 54 years, Pilch Lane in Huyton, was sentenced to 10 years for conspiracy to supply cocaine and diamorphine.
David Conroy, 43 years, Luke Street in Toxteth received eight years for conspiracy to supply diamorphine
Kieran Meehan, 30 years, of Queens Drive Wavertree was sentenced to seven years for conspiracy to supply diamorphine and cannabis.
Four of the suspects, Sinclair, O’Brien, Conroy and Meehan went to trial but were found guilty by a jury. The other five offenders pleaded guilty.
During the investigation detectives seized more than £282,500 of cash, firearms and ammunition and a substantial amount of Class A drugs with a street value of more than £1.3 million.
During the operation it became evident that four of the co-conspirators – Sean Burrell, James Wright, Martin McCoy and Thomas O’Brien – had been users of Encrochat devices.
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 and an attempt to evade eviction.
Also involved in the organised crime group, and sentenced at a previous hearing under this operation, were Thomas Penrith, 34 years, of Meyrick Road, Norris Green, and Andrew Webb, 46 years, of Maple Court, Knowsley Village.
Both offenders were each sentenced to 25 years imprisonment at Liverpool Crown Court last month.
Detective Inspector Paul McVeigh said: “Today’s sentencing of nine men under Operation Venetic and Operation Overboard is a huge success. Infiltrating this gang of co-conspirators was an operation in itself, and it is pleasing to see all 11 offenders in this organised crime group jailed for their crimes.
“Our officers have worked hard in a year-long investigation to unravel this crime gang, which was under the control of Sean Burrell, who employed criminal associates to further his criminality. We have recovered cash, firearms and drugs following searches at addresses.
“The trial of Thomas O’Brien was the first involving Encrochat data in Merseyside, and there have been many more since. Despite him contesting using an Encrochat device his case went to trial, and the evidence against him was so strong that he was found guilty by a unanimous verdict in November.
“I would ask anyone who has any information about who is supplying or selling drugs in their area to contact us so we can take action.”
Anyone with information is asked to DM @MerPolCC or @CrimestoppersUK anonymously on 0800 555 111.