A photo of a man’s hand turned out to be his downfall after he was revealed to be an Encrochat drug dealer involved in a massive drug conspiracy.

Gary Mitchell, 43, of Mosslands Drive, Wallasey, was jailed for his role in a plot to flood Merseyside with Class A and B drugs.

Mitchell, who had an Encrochat handful of “StarkIsland”, conspired with others to supply 27kg of heroin, 17kg of cocaine, 159kg of cannabis and 7,000 pills of ecstasy across Merseyside.

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In his messages to suppliers, he gave details of the main trips he made and sent a photo of the cannabis he was holding, which allowed police to confirm that the fingerprints in the photo were Mitchell.

Mitchell was arrested at his home in Wallasey and later charged with Class A and Class B drug conspiracy.

The 43-year-old was jailed for 15 years at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday, October 29, after pleading guilty to conspiring to supply heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and cannabis.

Detective Sergeant Jay Boardman said: “Mitchell delivered a devastating amount of drugs across Merseyside that could have destroyed many lives in our communities.

“His shameless photos of drugs and money that were ultimately used to bring Mitchell to justice show that he believed he was above the law and I hope this conviction proves that crime doesn’t pay, and we will use all tools to ensure that anyone who tries to profit from the sale of illegal drugs is sentenced to long prison terms for their crimes.

She added: “Operation Venetic took place after law enforcement officials in Europe successfully deciphered the ‘encrochat’ service used by criminals involved in serious and organized crime to carry out their activities. .

“Despite the growing number of people convicted of these crimes on Merseyside, our work still continues with law enforcement around the world, to prosecute anyone who attempts to lead a lifestyle that destroys lives and families.

“If you know of anyone who could supply drugs in your area that could harm others or someone dear to you, please contact the police and we will target anyone involved to ensure they are removed. of our streets, businesses and communities. “

Mitchell is the last man from Merseyside to be jailed as part of Operation Venetic: a nationwide investigation into the use of encrypted mobile devices, commonly known as Encrochat.

Operation Venetic’s ongoing work to unmask drug traffickers using hooking devices so far has seen 126 indicted and 42 sentenced to a total of 492 years in prison in Merseyside. .

Investigations continue to recover ill-gotten gains under the Crime Act, and so far we have recovered £ 1.8million in cash, 110kg of cocaine and heroin and four guns. fire with ammunition.

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