Encrochat: 12 years for dealer who sold 800 kilos of cannabis and 23 kilos of cocaine on “encrypted” app

A man from Felixstowe who conspired to supply more than £10 million worth of drugs has been jailed for more than 12 years.

Lee Dunn, 42, of Alexandra Road, was arrested after police intercepted messages on the encrypted platform Encrochat. The messages showed him arranging deals of cocaine and cannabis during a six week period from March to June 2020.

Each deal saw kilograms of drugs handed over at a time. In total Dunn had a role in the supply of approximately 23 kilograms of cocaine, and almost 800 kilograms of cannabis. The drugs had a combined value of more than £10 million.  

The investigation was part of Operation Venetic, the UK’s biggest ever law enforcement operation, which in spring 2020 saw data uncovered following the seizure of servers linked to the Encrochat platform – an encrypted tool used exclusively by criminals to communicate with each other. This allowed investigators to view messages and other media sent between users as they discussed large-scale criminality such as the movement of drugs and weapons.

Using this data, detectives from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) were able to establish that Dunn was behind one of the handles on the system, uncovering conversations between him and various other users relating to the distribution of cocaine and cannabis.

Dunn pleaded guilty to conspiring to supply cocaine and conspiring to supply cannabis in March, and was sentenced today (Thursday) at Ipswich Crown Court to a total of 12 years and eight months.

Detective Inspector Ian Mawdesley from ERSOU, said: “Dunn ran a large scale drugs dealing operation across the eastern region, organising the distribution of millions of pounds worth of Class A and Class B drugs for onward sale.

“The supply of such drugs is inextricably linked to many different crime types, all of which can have a serious impact on those in our local communities, which is why it’s vital we continue to use our specialist tactics to uncover these groups and put those responsible behind bars.


“We hope that this sends a strong message to those operating at the higher echelons of the drug dealing world that there is no place to hide and you will face the consequences of your actions.”

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