Merseyside Police has welcomed the sentencing of a Wirral man to 10 and a half years in prison for drug supply and money laundering offences at Liverpool Crown Court yesterday, Friday 29 October.
57-year-old Simon Roberts of Greasby was subject to an investigation as part Operation Venetic: a national investigation into the use of encrypted mobile devices, commonly referred to as Encrochat.
The investigation into Roberts was carried out by the Organised Crime Partnership (OCP), a specialist team set up by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Merseyside Police to tackle high risk organised crime groups linked to drugs and firearms.
He was sentenced after being found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin; and money laundering.
Using the handles ‘majorfox’ and ‘fanaticfern’, Roberts was evidenced to have supplied 11 kilos of cocaine to the wholesale value of £385,000; 3 kilos of heroin to the wholesale value of £52,000; and laundered more than £500,000 cash, to areas including Newcastle and Bournemouth.
Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Paul Lamb from the OCP said, “It is pleasing to see a significant drug supplier and money launderer removed from the community. Roberts was involved in drug supply on a serious and commercial scale, spreading the misery of drugs to multiple locations.
“The OCP is a joint team which looks to disrupt and dismantle those who blight communities and fuel the violent crime and fear it inevitably brings, and the close partnership work we are able to carry out assists greatly in such successful prosecutions.
“Operation Venetic has provided the OCP and indeed law enforcement across the UK and oversees with a wealth of evidence to arrest and ultimately convict drug dealers who believed they could evade justice by using an encrypted network.
“They were wrong, of which today’s sentencing is further proof. We will work with other agencies to stay one step ahead of these criminals, tirelessly pursuing anyone who seeks to break the law and exploit vulnerable people in our communities to line their own pockets.
“I hope that this and many other Venetic sentences show that organised crime is no way to earn money – not only will you face losing your liberty, but Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings will follow which seek to strip criminals of their ill-gotten gains so they can be reinvested into communities.
“I would ask anyone who has any information about who is supplying or selling drugs in their area to contact us so we can continue to take action.”
Anyone with information is asked to DM @MerPolCC or @CrimestoppersUK anonymously on 0800 555 111.