Op Venetic: Liverpool brothers locked up for class A and B drug dealing
Main article content
A drug dealer was jailed today, Friday 10 June for more than 14 years after being identified through messages he exchanged on the Encrochat encrypted mobile service.
Martin Peter Grant, 33 years, of Davidson Road in Old Swan was sentenced to 14 years and six months today at Liverpool Crown Court after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs (heroin and cocaine) and to conspiracy to supply Class B drugs (cannabis and ketamine).
He will be joining his younger brother, Liam Grant, 25 years, also of Davidson Road, who was sentenced last month to four years and six months in jail after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and to conspiracy to supply cannabis and ketamine.
Both brothers were arrested in September last year as part of the 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.
Martin led the family enterprise, which involved them both using the dark web in an attempt to conceal their underworld drug dealing. He used the handle Swiftorchid, while younger brother Liam went by the name Beigepalm.
In a covert operation, detectives were able to identify the brothers through a series of messages and photographs shared on the network. These included messages from Swiftorchid, aka Martin, to another handle during lockdown saying: ‘Lovely son isn't it just in the mother's’ and ‘Mate about 15 us here now for her bday’.
In another message exchange he shared images of items for sale on a public online auction site, and suggested purchasing them to disguise themselves as emergency workers in an attempt to transport drugs without being stopped by police. The message said: ‘Or don't you know any girls who are carers or buy a ambulance jacket of eBay‚ never get pulled’.
Detective Sergeant Graeme Kehoe said: “The fact the Grant brothers pleaded guilty again illustrates the strength of evidence that we have to bring drug dealers who used Encrochat to justice, and prevent them from flooding the streets with drugs.
“Op Venetic is continuing to expose criminals who thought they could evade detection by using the encrypted devices.
“Bringing the Grant brothers to justice has disrupted not only the serious organised crime they were involved in, but street level drug deals and county lines operations involving vulnerable young people.
“I hope this sends a clear message to criminals that we’ll persist in our pursuit to get them behind bars.”
Anyone with information is asked to DM @MerPolCC or @CrimestoppersUK anonymously on 0800 555 111.