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#Encrochat Gang member jailed for plans to make millions. Police discovered encrypted messages

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Police discovered encrypted messages detailing the scheme!

A gang member caught discussing how to make millions of pounds of drugs will be jailed.

Tony Bennett, 34, was arrested after police discovered encrypted messages on the site EncroChat, which detailed plans to import ingredients from China to make as much as £5m of drugs.

Bennett planned to ship in Class A drugs from Ecuador to be adulterated for onward supply, as well as claiming to have access to vehicles with “hydraulic slots” to hide substances.

He pled guilty at the High Court in Glasgow to being involved in serious organised crime.

The charge spans between March and June 2020, in Glasgow, Cumbernauld, and Uddingston.

As much as £5m of drugs

Police also found messaged discussing the purchase of a £6-12,000 Skorpion machine gun, as well as that Bennett had used the names “Mrr Nice and “Kind Killer” on EncroChat to remain anonymous.

Prosecutor David Dickson said: "He made extensive use of EncroChat to further his criminal conduct.

"There were criminal conversations in the region of 60 contacts, most of whom are hierarchy members of organised crime groups, some of whom were overseas.

"His messages were concerned with securing the controlled drugs on behalf of the organised crime group and their adulteration for onward supply in Scotland."

The pair believed the purchase of cocaine could make £2.5m

The hearing was told that Bennett was in contact with an individual about forming a "joint enterprise" in April 2020.

The pair believed the purchase of cocaine could make them a profit of £2.5m.

Mr Dickson said: "He asked the other person whether he knew any chemists who could make him M-Kat saying 'I can get all the ingredients from China. Serious paper'.

"This is assessed as them discussing the production of mephedrone (mkat) and the ability to make a significant profit."

He claimed he was capable of producing 100kg of the drug.

Sentencing has been deferred

Mr Dickson said: "They discussed profit from the first batch which could be used for subsequent purchases with a view of producing a ton of mephedrone to make a profit of £5m."

When discussing the purchase of the firearm, the individual selling it was prepared to swap it for 300g of cocaine.

Judge Olga Pasportnikov asked Mr Dickson if the transaction took place which he replied: "It didn't, it was just a discussion."

Sentence was deferred pending background reports until next month at the High Court in Aberdeen.

Bennett, who appeared from custody, had his remand continued meantime.

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