Encrochat gang jailed for nationwide operation

At Manchester Crown Court today, Monday 30 January 2023, four men from Manchester were jailed for a total of 35 years 8 months for the roles they played in a massive drugs operation that spanned the whole of the UK.

Mark Evans (08/02/1985), of Brows Avenue, was jailed for 10 years 6 months for conspiracy to supply class A drugs, money laundering and handling stolen goods. Keith Kemp (31/03/1978) of Marden Road was also jailed for 10 years 6 months for conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs, and money laundering.

John James (JJ) Reilly (09/01/1984) of Broadoak Road was jailed for 12 years, also for conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs, as well as money laundering. Caine Tanswell (24/11/1994) of Yew Tree Lane received 2 years eight months imprisonment for conspiracy to supply class B drugs and money laundering.

The men were snared by officers under codename Operation Achilles – an investigation carried out by GMP’s Challenger Team, into the encrypted phone network based in South Manchester – where evidence was gathered relating to class A and class B drug transactions and supply, and money laundering, not only in Manchester, but nationwide.

This follows on from the huge success of Greater Manchester Police’s Operation Venetic investigations, which relates to the Encrochat mobile phone network being deciphered by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and which has been responsible for getting millions of pounds worth of drugs and cash of Manchester’s streets.

The court heard how Evans, who had the Encrochat handle ‘Mangystaff’, acted largely as a courier with some involvement in supplying class B drugs. He was charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs – namely cocaine – money laundering and handing stolen goods.

He mainly travelled to Liverpool to carry out his illicit trades, as well as London and Oxford. He was also particularly active in the Cheetham Hill and Oldham areas of Manchester.


Evans’ handle ‘Mangystaff’ was also used by Kemp at times, who was also a courier and was active as a main conspirator for his associates. He was charged with conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs, as well as money laundering.

This involved Kemp travelling to Liverpool to drop cash off and collect drugs, as well as acting as a courier for other members of the group. He also made deliveries in Peterborough, London, Telford, Derby and Middlesborough.

Reilly used the Encrochat handle ‘Wideorchid’ and widely acted alone but had connections with the rest of the group, carrying out some ‘business’ transactions.

He was charged with conspiracy to supply class A and class B drugs, including cocaine, heroin, MDMA, Ketamine and cannabis. He was also charged with money laundering.

Reilly also sourced class A drugs for other members of the group and acted as a middleman for various drugs and money transactions.

Tanswell, who used the handle ‘Ivyhawk’ acted largely alone, purchasing class B drugs from another member of the group. He was charged with conspiracy to supply class B drugs – cannabis – and money laundering.

Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Sergeant Andrew Beard said: “We are absolutely thrilled with today’s result, which has seen four OCG members taken off the streets of Manchester for a considerable period of time.


“Since the Encrochat system was deciphered, GMP’’s Challenger Team have continued to hunt down and identify people who have been bringing drugs onto our streets and engaging in illegal activities to keep their drug supplies going.

“If you are involved in supplying drugs, money laundering or working within an organised crime group, we will identify you, arrest you and prosecute to the full extent of the law. We want to protect the people of Greater Manchester and there is no better way to do this than to get people, likes these four individuals, off the streets and behind bars.


About Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *