Knowsley man jailed for supplying drugs across the country

A Knowsley man has been jailed today, Thursday 19 May, for more than 12 years for supplying drugs across the country.

Joseph Byrne, 44 years, of Huyton was sentenced to 12 years 9 months imprisonment at Liverpool Crown Court.

He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs – cocaine, heroin and cannabis.

His arrest in July was part of the Merseyside Police 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. 

The drug dealer used the Encrochat handle Foxhedge to supply multiple kilos of heroin, cocaine and cannabis across the country from Liverpool to Wales. His handle also revealed he handled £349,000 cash within a three-month period. 

Speaking about the case, Detective Inspector Chris Lowe said, “This latest sentencing has helped disrupt a significant supply of drugs which Byrne supplied across the country.

“Byrne’s guilty plea reinforces the strength of evidence we have in these type [of] cases to convict those attempting to evade detection by utilising encrypted devices.

“This latest sentencing along with the other convictions that we have accomplished highlights our success in arresting and convicting people.

“We will continue to keep this momentum going and pursue offenders who think they can lie undetected by using the dark web, as we are taking action and bringing them to justice. 

“I would urge anyone who has any information about people they suspect are blighting their neighbourhood by supplying or selling drugs to contact us so we can take action.” 

Anyone with information is asked to DM @MerPolCC or @CrimestoppersUK anonymously on 0800 555 111. 

Image: Merseyside Police

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