Drug dealer jailed after identity confirmed by selfie
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Two men from Liverpool have been jailed today (Friday 11 June) at Liverpool Crown Court for more than 27 years in connection with an international operation targeting criminals who used a mobile encryption service to organise serious crime.
David Williams, 39, of Limekiln Lane, Vauxhall was jailed for 13-and-a-half years at Liverpool Crown Court. Williams, who used the encrochat handle 'Lovelygiant', pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine.
Gavin Jones, 42, of Houlgrove Road, Vauxhall was jailed for 14 years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine He used the encrochat handle 'Satintown’.
Officers gathered evidence from encro devices showing that both men were involved in the supply of significant quantities of cocaine and heroin, with Williams being a customer of Jones.
Williams was also found to have sent a selfie to another handle when asked on an encro device “who is this?”. He replied “me la” alongside the selfie below, conclusively identifying himself in the process.
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.
Community Inspector Sarah Rotherham said: “It is great to see two more drugs criminals put behind bars as part of national Operation Venetic. 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, in many cases unmasking criminals previously undetected by law enforcement.
"Williams and Jones have now been jailed for a number of years and thankfully stopped from bringing 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. 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, 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 go to great lengths to evade justice because they think the rules everyone else lives by do not apply to them. We will continue to target anyone involved in serious organised crime to keep this positive momentum going.”