A man from Liverpool is the latest to be sentenced as part of Operation Venetic – an international investigation into the use of a mobile encryption service, commonly referred to as Encrochat.
Joseph Ellis aged 38 of Liverpool was jailed for nine years at Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday 15 November after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs.
Examination of the data from the encrypted phone identified that Ellis was the user of the device/handle ‘STRAWSMITH’ and that he had been responsible for buying and selling multi kilograms of cocaine and cannabis, worth approximately £600,000.
Detective Sergeant Adam Smith from the Operations Team at the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit said, “Joseph Ellis worked as a taxi driver and made regular food deliveries to elderly people during the peak of the pandemic.
“He unashamedly exploited this opportunity to supply multi-kilo amounts of Class A and B drugs to customers in between this work.
“He is one of many criminals who tried to use the global pandemic as a way to try and avoid detection. Faced with overwhelming evidence against him, Ellis had no choice but to plead guilty.
“We’re happy with the sentencing today which will undoubtedly result in significant disruption to the supply of Class A and B drugs across Merseyside.”
“Here at the NWROCU we will continue to do everything we can to protect the public from the harm that individuals like Ellis cause.”