Sentenced to 10 Years: being identified through messages on the #Encrochat encrypted mobile service
PRIVACY IS PRICELESS
Martin Peter Grant, 33, of Davidson Road in Old Swan, was sentenced today at Liverpool Crown Court to 14 years and six months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs (heroin and cocaine) and conspiracy to supply Class B drugs (cannabis and ketamine).
He will be joining his younger brother, Liam Grant, 25, of Davidson Road, who was sentenced to four years and six months in prison last month after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and conspiracy to supply cannabis and ketamine.
Both brothers were apprehended in September of last year as part of Merseyside Police’s response to Operation Venetic: an international operation targeting criminals who used a mobile encryption service known as Encrochat to avoid detection.
Martin oversaw the family business, which involved them both using the dark web to conceal their underworld drug dealing. Swiftorchid was his alias, while younger brother Liam went by Beigepalm.
Detectives were able to identify the brothers in a covert operation using a series of messages and photographs shared on the network. Messages sent by Swiftorchid, aka Martin, to another handle during lockdown included the following: ‘Lovely son isn’t it just in the mother’s’ and ‘Mate about 15 of us here now for her bday’.
In another message exchange, he shared images of items for sale on a public online auction site and suggested that they buy them in order to disguise themselves as emergency workers in order to transport drugs without being stopped by police. ‘Or don’t you know any girls who are carers or buy an ambulance jacket off eBay and never get pulled,’ said the message.
Encrochat_ Martin Grant – Sent images of an ambulance he proposed purchasing in order to transport drugs during lockdown without being stopped by law enforcement.
“The fact that the Grant brothers pleaded guilty again demonstrates the strength of evidence that we have to bring drug dealers who used Encrochat to justice and prevent them from flooding the streets with drugs,” Detective Sergeant Graeme Kehoe said.
“Op Venetic is still exposing criminals who believed they could avoid detection by using encrypted devices.”
“By bringing the Grant brothers to justice, we were able to disrupt not only the serious organised crime in which they were involved, but also street level drug deals and county lines operations involving vulnerable young people.”
“I hope this sends a clear message to criminals that we will continue to pursue them and put them behind bars.”
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