Man who transported drugs in private hire vehicle jailed
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A 49-year-old private hire driver from Anfield who used his vehicle to transport drugs has been jailed for six years, eight months.
He is the latest to be jailed as part of Operation Venetic – an international operation targeting criminals who used a mobile encryption service to try to evade detection.
David Holgate, of St Ambrose Grove, Anfield, was stopped by police in his car on 22 June and eight boxes of powder recovered, which was later found to be 160kg of caffeine – an adulterant of ketamine.
Following a further search of his house, a mobile phone box was discovered linked to encrochat handle Loftywizard, who was identified as being involved with supplying more than 50kg of ketamine over several weeks, and amphetamine was recovered from his basement.
He was later charged with possession with intent to supply a Class B controlled drug (amphetamine), being concerned in the supply of ketamine and acquiring/possessing/using criminal property.
Holgate pleaded guilty to the offences and was today sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court to six years, eight months in prison.
The charges form another part of the Merseyside Police response to Operation Venetic: a national investigation into the use of encrypted mobile devices, commonly referred to as Encrochat.
Detective Sergeant Jay Boardman said: “Operation Venetic has provided Merseyside Police and law enforcement across the UK and oversees with a wealth of evidence to arrest and ultimately convict drug dealers who believed they could evade justice by using an encrypted network.
“They were wrong, and today’s sentencing is further proof that crime does not pay – we will work with other agencies to stay one step ahead of these criminals, tirelessly pursuing anyone who seeks to break the law and exploit vulnerable people in our communities to line their own pockets.
“Holgate was involved in the supply of amphetamine and ketamine across Merseyside and it is good news for our communities that he will now spend a long time unable to continue his illicit business and I hope he reflects on the poor choices he has made.
"I hope that this and many other Venetic sentences show that organised crime is no way to earn money - not only will you face losing your liberty, but Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings will follow which seek to strip criminals of their ill gotten gains so they can be reinvested into communities."