Two drug dealers who used encrypted mobile phones to organize the supply of large quantities of cocaine and ketamine in Kent have been jailed.
The criminal plot between Jack Daniels and Andrew Talbot, who were based in Sandgate and Folkestone, was uncovered by detectives after police in France and the Netherlands infiltrated the Encrochat software they used to communicate.
Intelligence shared with the National Crime Agency in the UK led to an investigation by the Serious Crimes Branch of Kent and Essex into a shady network user with the pseudonym “simplyned”.
Detectives used telephone mast data to narrow down the location of encrypted data traffic and found that the majority came from the area near Daniels’ home in Wellington Terrace, Sandgate.
The police could now see that Daniels coordinated the supply and distribution of banned substances, but he often sent a courier to collect the contraband on his behalf.
In encrypted conversations between March and June 2020, they had discovered the courier was called ‘Andy’ and further inquiries led him to be identified as Talbot, of Upton Close in Folkestone.
Eventually, officers had gathered enough evidence to execute concurrent warrants at their respective homes in November 2020.
“They were involved in huge exchanges of these substances and believed themselves to be untouchable…”
DI Kris Eberlein of the Serious Organized Crime Unit said: “Daniels and Talbot used a sophisticated and heavily encrypted messaging system to speak openly about the supply of cocaine and ketamine on our streets.
“They were involved in huge exchanges of these substances and believed themselves to be untouchable.
“Although the undercover conversations gave us reasonable suspicion to prosecute them, our detectives had to carefully examine evidence from a variety of sources to prove, beyond a doubt, that these two men were the culprits.”
During the raids, around £4,500 in cash was found hidden in a shoe in Daniels’ bedroom, alongside handwritten notes relating to conversations on Encrochat.
Small amounts of cocaine were also located at Talbot’s address. Both men were taken into custody and promptly charged and remanded in custody.
Daniels, 32, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and ketamine and yesterday at Canterbury Crown Court he was sentenced to seven years and eight months in jail.
Talbot, 32, pleaded guilty to the same two offenses and was jailed for five years.
Speaking after the sentencing, DI Eberlein said: “I am happy that they have now been held accountable.
“This result is clear evidence that our team has the resources and expertise to target organized drug suppliers that operate at scale.
“We will continue to target criminals involved in similar activities, and the public can expect to see more results like this throughout the year.”