Drug dealer jailed for 25 years after identifying himself on ‘Dark Web’

A drug dealer who was identified after he incriminated himself in messages he sent on the dark web was jailed today, Friday 24 June.

John Digweed, 33, of Crosby was sentenced to 25 years at Liverpool Crown Court for his role in supplying drugs.

Following a week-long trial, Digweed was found guilty by a jury of conspiring to supply Class A drugs including heroin, cocaine, ecstasy powder and 2CB/Tutsi, and Class B drugs cannabis, ketamine and amphetamine. 

He was also convicted of money laundering.

Encrochat data shown to the jury evidenced his involvement in the supply of 12.5kg of heroin, 30-35kg of cocaine, 80kg of cannabis, 4kg of ketamine and 3kg of amphetamine.

He was arrested in March 2021 at his home address for a drugs conspiracy as part of Merseyside Police’s response to Operation Venetic: an international operation targeting criminals who used a mobile encryption service, commonly referred to as Encrochat, in an attempt to evade detection when dealing drugs. 

Digweed operated under the name Diorpaw. One image sent to him showed a block of cannabis labelled “Johnny Weed.” His incriminating response, which led to his arrest, read: “HaHaHaHa lad who’s done that, its only missing dig out the name” My names Johnny Digweed init.” He then sent the image to other handles on the system.

Other messages revealed Digweed’s role in the drugs conspiracy. He claimed to be an expert in chemically changing cocaine into crack cocaine, giving advice and instructions on the techniques he used to others on the system. 

In one message sent to another handle he says, “Mate I’m just in the middle of 7 swills, I’ll get back on you now” and provided an image. On another occasion Digweed states “Got 5-6 swills on tomorrow and I’ve got 5 different people I need to make for”, this indicated the amount of drugs he manufactured and operated.

His messages on the dark web revealed that he supplied drugs across the northwest and managed the supply of crack cocaine and heroin to Devon and Cornwall.

He also referenced to Cornwall, Bristol, Middlesbrough, London, Weston-Super-Mare and Wales which suggested that he operated within all those areas.

Superintendent Graeme Robson said, “Digweed’s covert messages via Encrochat revealed his clear involvement as a leading figure in drug conspiracies that could have caused immense suffering to families and residents in our community.

“In one message sent to other handles he brazenly identified himself in messages. The messages he sent also revealed that he operated a sophisticated and organised criminal enterprise.”

Supt Robson added, “We know the destruction that drugs cause and Merseyside Police remains relentless in our pursuit of these criminals and to bring down serious and organised criminal groups.

“I hope this result shows that Merseyside Police, will leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of these people who think they are above the law, and we will continue to target criminals like Digweed by thoroughly examining any evidence, messages and images we find.”

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

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