Childwall man jailed for 14 years for Encrochat drug supply

A 37-year-old man from Childwall has been jailed for 14 years and eight months after evidence was found on an encrypted device that showed he was involved in the supply of heroin, cocaine, and cannabis.

James Wilson was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday, 26 January, after pleading guilty to playing a leading role in the conspiracy to supply 66kg of cocaine and 17.5kg of heroin between July 2019 and June 2020, via Encrochat.

Following his arrest in September 2023, a ledger was also found which revealed that between July and September 2023 he had conspired to supply a further 39kg of cocaine and 20kg of cannabis.

Wilson is the latest man in Merseyside to be jailed as part of Operation Venetic – an international operation targeting criminals who used a mobile encryption service, commonly referred to as Encrochat, to try to evade detection.

He was identified as the user of the direfortress handle, when detectives accessed the messages he had been sending on the device, they found clues to his real identity through references to his child’s name and birth, and images of his back garden.

There were also images of large quantities of white powder (example below).

Detective Inspector Peter McCullough said, “Wilson believed law enforcement would never see the messages he sent to arrange for the distribution of Class A drugs. 

“He thought the harm he was causing to vulnerable people in our communities would go completely undetected.

“He was wrong.

“I hope today’s sentencing proves, yet again, that crime does not pay and we will work tirelessly to make sure those who try to profit from the sale of illegal drugs are handed lengthy jail terms for their crimes.

“Despite the increasing number of people sentenced for these crimes across Merseyside, our work still continues along with law enforcement agencies across the world to pursue anyone who tries to forge a lifestyle that destroys lives and families. 

“Serious organised crime is not a lifestyle to aspire to and we will target anyone involved to ensure it is stamped out of our streets, businesses and communities.”

Lead image: James Wilson/Merseyside Police

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