Andrew Phillips, previously of Abbey Hey, used the EncroChat communications network to discuss the supply of cocaine and cannabis in the Runcorn area and beyond, with other criminals.
He was caught by detectives from the Serious and Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) who monitored and analysed messages he was sending under the handle ‘Kindleaf’.
Distribution of drugs
Between March 27, 2020 and June 2, 2020 Phillips spoke to his associates about receiving or arranging for multiple deliveries of cocaine and cannabis and the onward distribution of the drugs.
The court heard how Phillips supplied at least 12kg of cocaine and 34kg of cannabis during the period of his offending.
Arrest attempts were made at Phillips’ home address in October 2021, but officers were unable to locate him.
It was quickly established that he’d fled to another country and a manhunt was subsequently launched.
SOCU worked jointly with the National Crime Agency’s international liaison officer network and Dutch authorities after an EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement was issued in February 2022.
Phillips was detained and arrested as he left a house in Haarlem, Netherlands, in March 2022.
He was sentenced on Friday, October 20, at Chester Crown Court after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis.
Detective inspector Nick Henderson said: “We have been relentless in pursuing those who have so far been identified as using the secretive encrypted device in order to commit organised crime, and this will continue.
“Phillips, like many criminals, believed EncroChat would always be a safe and secure service to message freely and openly without being detected.
“He reaped the rewards of his criminality, but it was always going to catch up with him. Thanks to the work undertaken by law enforcement to take down the platform and the work of detectives who the analysed the messages he is now behind bars.”