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EncroChat dealers traded cars for drugs and raided rival gang's cannabis farm

Two EncroChat dealers traded cars for hauls of drugs to prop up their cocaine, amphetamines and cannabis operation.

Remez Caffrey and John Chean navigated the underworlds of Liverpool and Manchester under the shared codename FrostJacket.

Messages linked the account to the importation of illicit substances into the UK and suggested they were even behind a daring raid on a rival gang’s drug den.

READ MORE: Road closed as man airlifted to hospital with serious injuries after motorbike crash

Caffrey and Chean were both found to have been using the same EncroChat device to plot their exploits.

But when the shadowy communications network was infiltrated by law enforcement agencies, their operation came crumbling down.

Analysis of the FrostJacket account revealed how Caffrey, from Manchester, and Chean, from Kirkby, struggled to source cocaine in the early months of the pandemic but then stepped up their trading.

John Chean, 34 and of Thirlmere Walk in Kirkby, was sentenced to six years for conspiracy to supply cocaine and amphetamine. Image: GMP (Liverpool ECHO)

Both men exchanged messages with other's EncroChat handles, buying around two and a half kilograms of cocaine with a street value of around £100,000 in one deal.

They also sourced 61kgs of amphetamines, believed to have a street value of around £61,000, and 44kgs of cannabis, thought to have been worth around £264,000.

Greater Manchester Police, which targeted them in an undercover operation, said the men would often offer either cash or vehicles in exchange for the drugs.

On one occasion the men arranged to meet in Moston to exchange a Mercedes for 18kg of amphetamines.

Messages also linked them to the theft of cannabis from a farm in the Oldham area that was being operated by a rival gang.

Today, at Manchester Crown Court, Remez Caffrey of Chelston Avenue, New Moston was jailed for 11 years and three months.

The 24-year-old had pleaded guilty to conspiracies to supply cannabis, cocaine and amphetamines, conspiracy to import cannabis and money laundering.

Remez Caffrey, 24 and from New Moston, Manchester, was sentenced to 11 years for conspiracies to supply cannabis, cocaine and amphetamine, conspiracy to import cannabis and money laundering. Image: GMP (Liverpool ECHO)

Chean, of Thirlmere Walk, Kirkby, was jailed for six years.

The 34-year-old had admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine and amphetamines.

Following their sentencing, Detective Constable Darren Wayman, of GMP's Organised Crime Coordination Unit, said: "Today's sentencing is a significant result for the team after months of gruelling and intricate investigative work to help identify, arrest and convict these two high-ranking members of an organised crime gang.

"Both Caffrey and Chean were responsible for the purchase and importation of huge quantities of drugs which would no doubt have been distributed across Greater Manchester before being sold within our communities.

“These types of drugs blight communities and ruin lives and thankfully we have been successful in disrupting this type of destructive criminality.

"Drugs are not welcome within our community and we will do all we can to pursue these types of criminals and ensure they face the appropriate justice - which today is a substantial time behind bars.

“Our investigations do sometimes rely on intelligence provided by the public so I would encourage anyone who may have information into this type of activity to get in touch with police as soon as possible.”

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