A Wirral man has been jailed for his part in a conspiracy to flood the streets with £225,000 worth of cocaine and cannabis - after being identified by police from a selfie he sent another criminal.
Jon Hassall, 23 years, of Witley Close, Moreton was sentenced to seven years in prison when he appeared at Liverpool Crown Court yesterday (Wednesday 9 February).
Hassall pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs (cocaine and cannabis).
He was arrested in October as part of Merseyside Police response to Operation Venetic: an international operation targeting criminals who used a mobile encryption service, commonly referred to as Encrochat, in an attempt to evade detection.
Hassall was using the Encrochat handle ‘Trusted-bat’, and was revealed to be an Encrochat drug dealer from his messages on the dark web.
Detectives discovered that he was responsible for distributing more than 3kg of cocaine and 40kg of cannabis – with an estimated street value of £225,000.
He was identified from clues on his Encro device, including a selfie photograph he sent to a fellow Encro handle.
Detective Inspector Mike Dalton said: “This latest conviction is after another guilty plea which just cements the strength of evidence we have in these type cases.
“At Merseyside Police we are making good progress in exposing criminals who think they have evaded detection by utilising encrypted devices.
“Our operation doesn’t just affect serious organised crime taking place at the higher end, but it is also reaching down to street level drug deals and county lines operations.
“Ultimately people in our communities are seeing a positive difference in their neighbourhood and making it a safer place to live.
“I think this sends a clear message to criminals that we’ll continue to be relentless in our pursuit of them.”
Anyone with information is asked to DM @MerPolCC or @CrimestoppersUK anonymously on 0800 555 111.