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Criminals of #Encrochat: 'Mothvodka' and 'Unawaregiraffe' ran major EncroChat drug gang


James Webb, 32, and Thomas Riley, 31, were using handles to source large amounts of cocaine, heroin, and cannabis which was then distributed to dealers and addicts across Chester and Ellesmere Port.

The investigation into the pair began in May 2020 and after reviewing the EncroChat messages a series of raids were carried out in May 2021.

It was found that Webb, who used the handles ‘Quasitractor’ and ‘Mothvodka’, was the leader of the Organised crime gang. Riley was also a key player in the gang, specifically managing the supply of cocaine in the Ellesmere Port area, using the handle ‘Unawaregiraffe’ to take orders from street dealers across the town.

Riley would then arrange for other members of the gang to collect and prepare the drugs, before distributing them to dealers. Webb, of Raby Court, Ellesmere, was jailed for 12 years and six months after earlier pleading guilty to two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs (heroin and cocaine), one count of conspiracy to supply a class B drug (cannabis) and a further count of possession of cannabis with intent to supply.

The imprisonment of Webb and Riley follows the sentencing of three other men who were also key members of the gang. Joseph Bowen, Christian Minshull, and Samuel Sharples, were sentenced to a combined total of 26 years and six months for their roles in the conspiracy.

Minshull, predominantly a customer of the gang, would order bulk supplies which he would then distribute to dealers predominantly in the Chester area. The 32-year-old, of Saddlery Way, Chester, was sentenced to 12-years imprisonment at Chester Crown Court on 11 May 2021 after he pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs (heroin and cocaine) and one count of conspiracy to supply the class B drug (cannabis).

Bowen and Sharples were both Class A couriers and managed stash houses for the gang. Sharples, known by the handle ‘Sickrabbit’ specifically managed cocaine, while Bowen, who was known by the handle ‘Impossiblejaw’ looked after heroin, cocaine and cannabis.

Between them, they would collect the drugs and prepared them for onward sale before distributing them across the area. Bowen also distributed cannabis to in bulk amounts to street level suppliers in Ellesmere Port.


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