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'Polite young man' unmasked as Encrochat dealer who flogged drugs and luxury Mercedes to live lavish lifestyle

A 'polite young man' has been unmasked as an Encrochat drug dealer who traded cars for drugs in a huge cocaine and amphetamine operation.

Remez Caffrey, 24, from Moston, sold drugs under the name 'FrostJacket' with his co-defendant John Chean, 33.

They were found using the handle to deal class A and B drugs up and down the country and pictured living a lavish lifestyle.

In messages recovered following a Europe-wide hack into Encrochat, a system used exclusively by members of organised crime groups to plan criminal activities, they were caught discussing buying and selling drugs.

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In one exchange, they admitted to another user that the account was used ‘for work’.

And in another they arranged to meet a man to trade a 20 plate Mercedes for 18kg of amphetamine in Moston.

Caffrey and Chean have now both been jailed for a total of almost 20 years.

Minshull Street Crown Court heard that both were using the handle ‘FrostJacket’ to buy and sell cocaine, amphetamine and cannabis throughout the UK.

“There were two messages between 'FrostJacket' and an account called ‘MafiaTies’, with the latter account asking: 'Is this yours or do you share it?' prosecutor Lucy Wright said.

“FrostJacket replied: “No, it’s mine and Rem, obviously we use it for work”.

The prosecutor said that ‘Rem’ was a reference to Caffrey.

From April 4, 2020 to March 4 2021, the handle was used on an almost daily basis, and was in contact with numerous handles over the Encrochat network.

It was clear they were able to obtain ‘large quantities’ of drugs and move them, with both Caffrey and Chean acting as purchaser, supplier and even middle men, she said.

In total, the amount of money exchanged was £122,500.

In messages between ‘FrostJacket’ and other accounts, a total of four-and-a-half kilos of cocaine worth £170,875, 261 kilos of amphetamine worth £261,000 and 44 kilos of cannabis worth £292,000 were supplied.

Ms Wright detailed a number of conversations between 'FrostJacket' and others.

“On April 7 FrostJacket was discussing the sale of a Mercedes with a handle called ‘JessiePinkman’, namely 18 kilos of amphetamine in exchange for a Mercedes,” she said.

Remez Caffrey (GMP)

“FrostJacket explained they were able to get amphetamine for £1,000 per kilo.

“On April 8, FrostJacket and JessiePinkman arranged the pickup of the Mercedes and the amphetamine, and 17 kilos of the drug was received by the defendants.”

There were then messages suggesting an onward sale of the drug.

Other discussions between FrostJacket and another handle spoke of the sale of a kilogram of cocaine worth £40,000.

Days later they were discussing with ‘JessiePinkman’ about sending 200 kilos of amphetamine to Scotland, and keeping one kilogram for ‘testing’.

John Chean (GMP)

Then on April 20, they were discussing with handle ‘MightyRay’ about a large amount of cannabis for sale, with Caffrey and Chean suggesting they had connections in Holland to get some of the class B drug for £5,300 per kilogram.

This suggested they were not only dealing drugs domestically, but also able to obtain drugs internationally, Ms Wright said.

“On May 5 2020, FrostJacket told another handle they could get hold of 50 kilos of cannabis, and were asking for 10 kilos for £4,000 each,” the prosecutor continued.

“There was also a discussion between FrostJacket and BabyAssassin about looking for trackers and listening devices that could be used by law enforcement. This showed they were sophisticated in respect of the understanding of deception of law enforcement.”

Pictures found on Chean's phone showed both men in a swanky apartment (GMP)

Warrants were executed at Chean’s address in Liverpool, with officers finding £2,920 in cash, a snapbag of white powder, digital scales, and a receipt for a Cartier watch.

The prosecutor said Caffrey was a ‘senior partner’ and played a leading role in the organising, buying and selling of drugs on a commercial scale.

He was said to have two convictions for nine offences, including possession of class A drugs when he was a juvenile.

In separate offences, Chean was caught driving dangerously in Liverpool on December 13 2020 at 4.40am.

Officers became aware of a black Audi A3 driving at excessive speed, going through red lights and going the wrong way down a one way street.

At one stage, he reached speeds of 120mph in a 30mph zone, the court heard.

The pursuit eventually ended when one of the front tyres was damaged, causing Chean to come to a stop.

He was said to have previous convictions for 32 offences including possession with intent to supply class A drugs.

Mitigating for Caffrey, Daniel Travers said his client has never served a custodial sentence and will be away from his family for the first time.

“Clearly there were others involved at a higher level,” Mr Travers said.

“He is described as a senior partner - he was 22 at the time of the indictment.

“His family describe him as being a nice, polite young man from a supportive family.”

On behalf of Chean, Damian Nolan said: “He accepts he was involved in one-ninths of the sale of drugs.

“It’s his own fault he is in prison, but the fact there is regret suggests there has been punishment suffered already.”

Sentencing them, Judge Elizabeth Nicholls said: “What is of importance is that you were involved in the purchase and onward supply of drugs.

“It was also revealed by the messages that you had a high awareness of police detection and had the ability to avoid detection.

Caffrey (left) and Chean (right) pictured in an expensive car highlighting their 'lavish lifestyle' (GMP)

“It is accepted by your basis of plea that you, Chean, were involved as a junior partner and had a limited role.

“It is clear you were expecting substantial rewards.”

Caffrey, of Chelston Avenue, was jailed for 11 years and three months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs and conspiracy to import class B drugs.

Chean, of Thirlmere Walk, Kirkby, was jailed for eight years and six months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs.

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 OCG.

"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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