Litherland man jailed for firearm and drug offences

A Litherland man has been jailed for possession of cocaine with intent to supply, conspiracy to own a firearm and conspiracy to supply heroin, cocaine and cannabis via the encrypted messaging platform, commonly referred to as Encrochat.

Mark Murphy, aged 39, of Litherland was sentenced on Wednesday 15 November 2023 at Liverpool Crown Court to a total of 18 years in prison. 

On Thursday, 6 July 2023, Murphy was arrested at his home address in Litherland as part of Merseyside Police’s response to Operation Venetic: an international investigation targeting criminals who use a mobile encryption service, commonly referred to as Encrochat, in an attempt to evade detection.

The investigation revealed that Murphy used the Encrochat handle FIVE-FINGERS between March 2020 and June 2020 to supply Class A and B drugs. Two images of a firearm he was conspiring to possess within the Encrochat messages were also found by police during the investigation.

During Murphy’s arrest officers seized approximately two kilograms of cocaine at his address. 

Murphy pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply 17.75kg of cocaine, 9kg of heroin and 2kg of cannabis, conspiracy to possess a prohibited weapon and associated ammunition, namely a Glock self-loading pistol, along with possession with intent to supply cocaine.  

Speaking after the sentencing Detective Chief Inspector Paul McVeigh of the Firearms Investigation Team said, “Following a search of Murphy’s property in Litherland we seized a significant amount of class A drugs.

“Our officers also uncovered within the Encrochat data two images of a firearm he was conspiring to possess which could have caused serious harm and devastation in our community.

“Thankfully, Murphy has now been sentenced for his crimes and will spend a significant period of time in custody.

“I hope this result shows how Merseyside Police pro-actively investigates serious organised crime including the use of guns and the supply and distribution of drugs in our region and is relentless in its pursuit of offenders.

“Despite our ongoing work, it is vital that members of our communities come forward with information so we can make our communities safer for the decent, law-abiding people who live in areas affected by drugs and gun crime.

“If you have any information about anyone using drugs in your area or planning to possess a dangerous weapon please don’t hesitate to contact us.”

If you have got any information about the use or storage of weapons please DM @MerPolCC or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Lead image: Mark Murphy/Merseyside Police

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