On Friday 29 September, at Liverpool Crown Court, four members of an organised crime group responsible for selling multi-kilos of Class A drugs have been jailed for more than 48 years as part of Operation Venetic.
Lynton Skeete, 48, of Egremont, Wirral was sentenced to 11 years five months in prison. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A and conspiracy to fraudulently evade the prohibition on the importation of controlled drug of Class B Cannabis.
Skeete used the Encro handle ‘MARSHCAT’ to supply multi kilos of cocaine, and to import cannabis from Spain, where he was living at the time, into the UK.
Carl Lythgoe, 42, from Roby was sentenced to seven years and four months imprisonment. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
Lythgoe used the Encrochat handle ‘LOUSEYWHALE’ which he used to supply multi-kilos of cocaine to Paul Brown.
Guy Clifton, 34, also of Roby was sentenced to 16 years in prison. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and being concerned in the supply of Class B drugs.
Clifton used the Encro handle ‘DASHINGPIE’ to supply more than 60kg of cocaine and 20kg of heroin to drug dealers up in Scotland. He was also involved in the cultivation of 145 cannabis plants. The court heard that Clifton is in debt of more than £450,000 to Brown and Lythgoe after one of his dealers failed to pay.
Paul Brown, 45, of Liverpool, was jailed for 14 years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and possession of a controlled drug (Class B) with intent to supply.
Brown used the Encro handle ‘HARSHCAMEL’ to supply more than 20kg of cocaine and 15kg of heroin between 25 March and 14 June 2020. When arrested he was had more than 18kg of amphetamine on him.
Detective Inspector Mike Robinson from the NWROCU Operations Team said, “Today we’ve seen four more people put behind bars as part of Operation Venetic – an international operation targeting criminals who used a mobile encryption device to try and evade detection.
“They mistakenly thought that by using Encrochat they could evade police but our successes as part of Op Venetic show how wrong they were.
“Messages proved that the crime group were responsible for supplying multi kilos of Class A drugs up and down the country, damaging people’s lives and the communities we serve. The evidence was so overwhelming that they had no choice but to plead guilty to their crimes.
“The sentences today reflect the seriousness of their crimes and will hopefully serve as a deterrent to others who are either involved or aspire to be involved in trafficking drugs across our region and beyond.”