LONDON – A drug dealer in the English city of Liverpool thought he was the big cheese – until the police got all the evidence they needed to arrest him from a picture he shared of himself with a small block of creamy Stilton.
39-year-old Carl Stewart was sentenced to 13 years and six months in prison last week at Liverpool Crown Court after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine, conspiracy to supply heroin, MDMA and ketamine, and transfer of criminal property would have.
Without a photo he shared of himself with the block of cheese from renowned British retailer Marks & Spencer, he could still very well be supplying large quantities of medicine.
Stewart was arrested after posting the photo on EncroChat encrypted messaging service using his Toffeeforce handle. Unknown to the police in Europe had cracked the service. From this, his palm and fingerprints were analyzed and the police had her husband.
Merseyside Police Detective Inspector Lee Wilkinson said Stewart was “caught by his love of Stilton cheese”.
Stewart isn’t the only one who has prematurely ended his criminal activities through his activities on EncroChat. According to Merseyside Police, around 60,000 users have now been identified worldwide, including around 10,000 in the UK alone. All should be involved in coordinating and planning the delivery and distribution of drugs and weapons, money laundering and other criminal activities
Merseyside police arrested more than 60 people as part of Operation Venetic, and three other criminals were sentenced to long prison terms on Wednesday. Three more are due to be sentenced on Thursday.
Shaun Harrison, 33, was one of them who was sentenced to 10 years and eight months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis. Harrison was caught after disclosing personal information about himself on EncroChat, which had the “Scantbee and Sandferret” handle on it.
“The Merseyside Police Department, together with law enforcement agencies around the world, will do their best to prosecute those who believe they are above the law, and we will continue to reach out to anyone involved in serious organized crime for them maintain positive momentum, “said Wilkinson.