Two former Royal commandos from Liverpool and a safe house owner have been jailed today.
On (Tuesday 15 June) at Liverpool Crown Court in connection with an international operation targeting criminals who used a mobile encryption service Encrochat to organise serious crime.
Jack Stanley Jones, 27, of Hey Park in Huyton, used the encrochat handle ‘feralwhale, and was jailed for 16-and-a-half years for playing a leading role in drug importation.
During the operation police seized 18kg of cocaine concealed in children’s Duplo boxes of lego.
They were sending the money back in crypto currency.
He pleaded guilty to:
– Conspiracy to Supply a Class A Controlled Drug – Cocaine
– Conspiracy to Supply a Class A Controlled Drug – Heroin
– Conspiracy to Supply a Class A Controlled Drug – MDMA
– Conspiracy to Supply a Class B Controlled Drug – Cannabis
– Conspiracy to Supply a Class B Controlled Drug – Methamphetamine
– Importation of a Class A controlled drugs into UK
– Importation of a Class B controlled drug into UK
– Conspiracy to produce cannabis
– Conspiracy to convert criminal property
Officers gathered evidence from encro devices showing that Jones was involved in the importation and supply over 50kg of Class A drugs, multi-kilogram quantities of cannabis, and kilograms of MDMA.
His encrypted messages revealed he was also making plans for the importation and transportation of large quantities of drugs via planes and boats, as well as via the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.
During the investigation, police recovered a total of 18kg of high purity cocaine from parcels which arrived in the UK from Holland, to Merseyside addresses linked to Jones.
The wholesale value of the recovered cocaine was between £612,000 and £720,000 and the potential street value was up to £1,800,000.
Jones’ encrochat revealed his drug importation deals into the UK would make he and his associates “millers (millionnaires) in waiting” and “multimillionaires in a few months“.
Isaac Rasmussen, 28, from Heath Road Widnes, previously from the Huyton area used the encro handle ‘Intimatemode’.
He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine, conspiring to fraudulently evade a prohibition on the import of Class A drugs, and conspiring to fraudulently evade a prohibition on the import of Class B drugs. He has been jailed for 10 years.
Rasmussen was a trusted confidant of Jack Jones, having met in the Royal Navy where they were in the same regiment from 2009.
The pair set up a courier transport company – named 998 after their Royal Marines troop number.
During a search of Rasmussen’s Widnes home, police later found a photograph of their troop from the Commando Training Centre in 2009, which dated their association back to their Royal Navy days.
Rasmussen’s role also included collecting payment from the sale of the kilograms of cocaine that he and Jack Jones had imported into the UK.
He admitted using his home address for the delivery of two imported drugs packages – the second of which was 6kg of high purity cocaine concealed in children’s Duplo boxes.
Paul Jones, 43, of Lincombe Road Roby, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine, possession with intent to supply a Class A drug, possession of cannabis, possession of criminal property, conspiring to fraudulently evade a prohibition on the import of Class A drugs.
Jones allowed his home to be used for the delivery and storage of drugs packages from Holland – of which two were recovered by police and totalled over 12kg of high purity cocaine. He has been jailed for seven-and-a-half years.
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.
Detective Inspector Lee Wilkinson said: “It is a brilliant result to see three more dangerous drugs criminals locked up as part of national Operation Venetic.
“The potential dangers of this enterprise were demonstrated further when one of their imported boxes containing a kilogram of high purity cocaine found its way into the hands of a young child who was mistakenly given it as a present, packaged in a Duplo lego box.
It was only by fortune that one of the parents of the child opened the box and discovered the contents. The police were then called to recover the item.
“Despite Jack Jones’ boasts that they would soon be multimillionaires, their dreams of building a living – and a drugs empire – by bringing misery to our communities have now come crashing down around them.
“As part of Operation Venetic, Merseyside Police has so far arrested more than 125 people, many of whom have been charged with serious drug trafficking and 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 will continue to be relentless and leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of those involved in serious organised crime in order to protect our communities.”