A man has been jailed for 20 years in prison today, Friday 23 June, following an investigation into Encrochat drug dealing and firearm offences.
Liam Chung, 37 years, of Netherley was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court to 20 years imprisonment for conspiracy to supply multi-kilo quantities of Class A and B drugs, as well as to supply a semi-automatic firearm and possession of criminal property.
His arrest in May 2022 was part of Merseyside Police’s response to Operation Venetic: an international operation targeting criminals who used the Encrochat mobile encryption service in an attempt to evade detection.
He was then charged for his role in drug dealing using the Encrochat handle ‘Castlewinter’, and several of his drug dealing associates referred to his real name during text message conversations.
Chung was due to stand trial earlier this week but changed his plea to guilty yesterday, Thursday 22 June.
A Merseyside Police spokesperson said, “This lengthy sentence lays testament to the extent his drug dealing crimes and the firearm offence, which as we all know causes catastrophic damage in our communities.
“The Encrochat messages clearly demonstrated that Chung played a significant role in supplying drugs where he identified himself in financial transactions on his Encrochat phone that were found to be identical with cash deposited into his bank accounts.
“Crucially, Chung also spoke about himself in text messages when he was named in a newspaper article which was published the previous day.
“In the text conversation an associate says to Castlewinter ‘“’Didn’t know you was semi pro kick boxer’” ‘ to which Chung replied ‘“’Didn’t myself tbh haha as far as there aware I only ever had one amateur Thai boxin bout in UK….. that echo talks proper wham done it mate’ (sic).
“I hope this result shows that Merseyside Police will leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of people who think they are above the law, and we will continue to target criminals like Chung 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.