Hard cheese! Dairy-loving drug dealer is jailed for more than 13 years after police ID him from fingerprints he left on a block of Stilton
- Carl Stewart, 39, from Vauxhall, Liverpool, used EncroChat encryption service
- He shared image of block of cheese in his palm and fingerprints were analysed
- Jailed for 13 years and six months at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday 21 May
A drug dealer has been jailed for more than 13 years after police got his ID from fingerprints he left on a block of Stilton.
Carl Stewart, 39, from Vauxhall, Liverpool, used the EncroChat encryption service to evade detection as he supplied class A and B drugs.
He used the handle ‘Toffeeforce’ to hide his identity, but law enforcement agencies managed to crack the encryption device.
Carl Stewart, 39, from Vauxhall, Liverpool, was jailed for more than 13 years after police got his ID from fingerprints he left on a block of Stilton
Stewart was identified after he shared an image of a block of cheese in the palm of his hand, and his fingerprints were analysed.
He was jailed for 13 years and six months on Friday 21 May after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and conspiracy to supply heroin at Liverpool Crown Court.
Stewart also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply MDMA, conspiracy to supply ketamine and transferring criminal property.
Detective Inspector Lee Wilkinson of Merseyside Police said: ‘Today we have seen another significant sentencing as part of national Operation Venetic, which came about after law enforcement officials in Europe managed to crack the ‘encrochat’ service being used by criminals involved in serious and organised crime to carry out their business.
‘Carl Stewart was involved in supplying large amounts of class A and B drugs, but was caught out by his love of Stilton cheese, after sharing a picture of a block of it in his hand through encrochat.
‘His palm and fingerprints were analysed from this picture and it was established they belonged to Stewart.’
Stewart was identified after he shared an image of a block of cheese in the palm of his hand, and his fingerprints were analysed from the image
He continued: ‘As part of Operation Venetic, Merseyside Police has so far arrested more than 60 people, many of whom have been charged with serious drug trafficking or firearms offences.
‘This year will see a number of these people continuing to appear before the courts, and we welcome each and every one.
‘Stewart was handed a substantial sentence of 13 years and six months, and this should serve as a stark warning to anyone involved in this criminality that there are serious consequences.
‘Merseyside Police, along with law enforcement agencies across the world, will leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of those people who think they are above the law, and we will continue to target anyone involved in serious organised crime to keep this positive momentum going.’
Around 60,000 users of encrochat have been identified worldwide, with about 10,000 of them in the UK.
They are all involved in coordinating and planning the supply and distribution of drugs and weapons, money laundering and other criminal activity.
What is the ‘EncroChat’ smartphone system used by the mafia to move money, drugs and order murders
EncroChat was a secret platform where users were able to communicate privately between specially-designed handsets – often to run drugs, traffick people and even order murders.
These devices, costing £1,500, are usually Android-based smartphones that had their GPS sensors, microphones, and cameras stripped out, encrypted chat apps installed by default to allow people to sent private messages. It is now emerging that criminal syndicates across the world had one – with one in six of the 60,000 users in the UK.
Marketed as the electronic equivalent of two people having a conversation in an empty room, it enabled users to send written messages or make voice calls through an encrypted system.
There were thought to be 60,000 users internationally, including 10,000 in the UK, with prices at £1,500 for a six-month contract.
The National Crime Agency said the handset could also be wiped remote