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  • Writer's pictureThe DigitalBank Vault

Two prolific drug conspirators have been jailed because of the fake encrypted phones of Encrochat


The sentencing on Tuesday 8 November 2022 saw the men jailed for offences including conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life and conspiracy to supply cocaine.

Reece Bradbury (28/10/1994) of Pullman Grove, Salford, who went by the alias ‘regionalsnow/bigbradderz’ was sentenced to 9 years and 6 months, after pleading guilty to the following offences:

  • Two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

  • Two counts of conspiracy to supply Class B drugs.

Christopher Winder (28/02/1979) of Melville Road, Irlam, who went by the alias ‘magentacheese’ and was the owner of the premises used for the safe house for storage of firearms was sentenced to 11 years and 3 months, after pleading guilty to the following offences:

  • One count of conspiracy to supply Class A

  • One count of conspiracy to transfer a prohibited weapon

  • One count of conspiracy to transfer ammunition

At the forefront of this sentencing is the use of encrypted mobile phones, which falls under ‘Operation Venetic’, the UK’s response to infiltrate and disrupt the ‘Encrochat’ communication system used by organised criminal networks.

The technology behind these devices previously made it impossible for law enforcement to obtain any data or evidence from the devices. Unfortunately for the organised criminals, our officers were able to access the encrypted data through a legal data hack to secure illicit communications provided by the National Crime Agency (NCA) which has enabled police to secure the conviction of Bradbury and Winder.

The encrypted messages detailed their entire operation. They showed how the men communicated and shared images of large quantities of cocaine and debt lists via the encrypted phones, and directed multiple couriers to an address in Greater Manchester to collect the drugs.

The court heard how Reece Bradley encouraged one of his couriers to wear a takeaway delivery cap in order to blend in with the evening traffic and elude police. Messages between Bradley and another man showed discussions about purchasing a specific vehicle to contain a ‘hide’, which is a hidden compartment used to conceal and disguise drugs and firearms in a vehicle, further attempting to avoid detection.

Detective Inspector Justin Bryant, of GMP Serious Organised Crime Group said: “This gang went out of their way to try and avoid detection by using these encrypted phones, but instead they led us to a treasure trove of evidence that has enabled us to take this criminal gang off our streets.

“The severity of these offences should not be underestimated, and the quantities of drugs we are talking about here are beyond substantial. The removal of Bradbury and Winder will have a discernible difference on the streets of Greater Manchester.

“Information or concerns from the public regarding drug supply in your area plays a key part in our process. If you have any information which may aid our investigations into the trade of drugs across Greater Manchester, then please get in touch with us on the numbers provided below.”


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