Wirral drug dealer jailed for significant role in Encrochat drug supply

A Wirral drug dealer who used the alias ‘ladbrookes’ has been jailed for more than nine years for his role in supplying drugs via Encrochat.

Kurtis Bolton, 26 years, of Bidston, was sentenced to nine years and eight months for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs (cocaine) and conspiracy to convert criminal property namely cash at Liverpool Crown Court yesterday, Monday 30 January. 

Bolton was arrested at his home on 8 December, which 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.  

He was identified as the user of Encrochat handle ‘ladbrookes’, and thanks to personal information he disclosed within the messages, including details of addresses and incidents linked to him.

He pleaded guilty to the offences at a previous court hearing and accepted that he had played a significant role in conspiring to supply 22kg of cocaine, and conspiracy to convert criminal property which was £305,000 between March and June 2020.

Detective Sergeant James Boardman said, “We welcome this sentencing for Bolton, who is now paying for his drug dealing crimes which causes so much damage and harm in our communities. 

“The Encrochat messages clearly demonstrated that Bolton played a significant role in supplying cocaine, and he thought that his messages would lay undetected so he could evade justice.

“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 Bolton 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.

Image: Merseyside Police

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