Aintree man jailed for more than 11 years for drug supply

An Aintree man has been sentenced to 11 years and three months in prison for another drugs conspiracy under ‘Encrochat’ Operation Venetic.

Stephen Gildea, 37, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin and was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court this afternoon, Tuesday 7 February.

Gildea operated under the handles ‘frosty-hill’ and ‘wuhan-who’ and was evidenced as being involved in the trafficking of cocaine and heroin in 2020. Gildea referenced his love of pigeon racing in messages and images sent during this period, which allowed officers to identify his home address and his pigeon loft.

He was arrested on 5 April 2022.

Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Inspector Peter McCullough said, “Gildea, like many offenders before him, thought he was hiding behind a secure communications system. Instead, he collected damning evidence of his own large-scale drug supply and will face a long spell in prison.

“Those who supply drugs across Merseyside and beyond cause incalculable harm, and we will continue to see offenders passing through the courts in days and weeks to come. Each person jailed makes our communities safer.”

Anyone with information on drug supply is asked to contact @MerPolCC, 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Image: Merseyside Police

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