|Two men from Manchester and Liverpool have been jailed for over 15 years today following a covert investigation into their criminal activity as leaders of an organised crime group in Manchester.|
|The investigation centred on the use of the encrypted communications service Encrochat, which Remez Caffrey (04/06/1997) and John Chean (21/11/1987) were both using to import and supply class A and B drugs. Following the take down of Encrochat in June 2020 as part of the UK-wide Operation Venetic, GMP was made aware of a user handle on the service ‘Frostjacket’ being jointly used by Caffrey and Chean.|
Through this profile both men would be in regular contact with multiple handles to source and purchase drugs.
Analysis of messages between April and June 2020 showed ‘Frostjacket’ was trying to source cocaine in early April but was struggling due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and Government restrictions.
In the months that followed both men were seen to exchange messages with various handles purchasing around two and a half kilograms of cocaine believed to have a street value of around £100,000, 61 kilograms of amphetamine believed to have a street value of around £61,000 and 44 kilograms of cannabis believed to be worth around £264,000.
The men would often offer either cash exchange or vehicle exchange for the drugs and on one occasion the men arranged to meet in Moston to exchange a 20 plate Mercedes for 18kg of amphetamine.
In an attempt to launder money for large scale drug purchases the men were in discussions with various handles encouraging Frostjacket to accept large amounts of money and pass these through various members of their family to clean the money. Agreeing to do so ‘Frostjacket’ instructs the handle this his family members will do as their told.
Further message analysis showed both men were involved in the theft of cannabis from a farm in the Oldham area being operated by a rival crime group.
In May 2020, both Caffrey and Chean travelled to Liverpool and were in conversation with another user on the platform discussing the transportation of drugs from overseas into the UK. ‘Frostjacket’ instructs the user that although they have their own means of transportation via Denmark and Belgium, they could fill 100k of space on a transportation being used by the user.
The investigation culminated in strike days in March 2021 in which both Caffrey and Chean were arrested at addresses in Manchester and Liverpool. During the strikes £2,940 in cash was also seized.
Today (Tuesday 1 March) at Manchester Crown Court, Remez Caffrey of Chelston Avenue, New Moston was jailed for 11 years and three months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cannabis, cocaine and amphetamine, conspiracy to import cannabis and money laundering. John Chean, of Thirlmere Walk, Liverpool was also jailed for six years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and amphetamine.
Detective Constable Darren Wayman of GMP’s Organised Crime Coordination Unit said: “Today’s sentencing is a significant result for the team after months of gruelling and intricate investigative work to help identify, arrest and convict these two high-ranking members of an OCG.
“Both Caffrey and Chean were responsible for the purchase and importation of huge quantities of drugs which would no doubt have been distributed across Greater Manchester before being sold within our communities. These types of drugs blight communities and ruin lives and thankfully we have been successful in disrupting this type of destructive criminality.
“Drugs are not welcome within our community and we will do all we can to pursue these types of criminals and ensure they face the appropriate justice – which today is a substantial time behind bars. Our investigations do sometimes rely on intelligence provided by the public so I would encourage anyone who may have information into this type of activity to get in touch with police as soon as possible.”
Encrochat revealed how gangster duo laundered their money