Drug dealers who flashed their ill-gotten gains in photos have been jailed after police uncovered their EncroChat messages.
Investigating specialist drug officers from Essex Police established 27-year-old Karl Newell had operated the Purepoint line in the Southend area.
After exhaustive analysis of several devices used to advertise and sell drugs, police found the line was also operating throughout the country.
A sentencing hearing at Basildon Crown Court heard the operation was prolific, involving the turnover of around 10kg of drugs.
Jack Bayliss pictured with huge wads of cash
Newell ran the drug line using EncroChat – an encrypted platform popular with organised criminals – to lead the illicit trade.
Drug officers seized several devices and found Newell had given out personal details in his false belief the chats would be secure.
Images found on devices showed the dealers flaunting large sums of cash and drugs.
Chat logs advertising the sale of heroin and crack cocaine were also uncovered, referencing the amount and quality of the substances on sale.
Further messages showed co-defendants Jack Bayliss, 24, and Indrit Cakoni, 21, were working for Newell, with Cakoni even setting up his own drug line, Zino, operating alongside the main operation.
The force says Newell, under the EncroChat handle name ‘dealsonwheels’, was involved in the wholesale purchasing of Class A drugs and their supply throughout the UK, handling large sums of cash and living a lavish lifestyle beyond his means.
Police found evidence the Purepoint line had been in operation since September 2017.
Cakoni and Bayliss were arrested and interviewed in August 2020, answering no comment to all questions asked.
When officers executed warrants at addresses relating to Newell, his family told police he had left the country.
Following a thorough investigation, Newell was arrested in Spain in December 2020 and extradited back to the UK.
Newell, of Brookfields Avenue, Greater London, admitted two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and has been jailed for 8 years and 310 days.
Bayliss, of Steeple Close, Rochford, admitted two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and two counts of being concerned in the supply of cannabis.
He was sentenced to six years and 237 days’ in prison.
Cakoni, of Reddown Road, Coulsdon, Surrey, admitted two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and was jailed for six years and six months.
PC Michael Brimfield, officer in charge of the case, works with specialist unit Operation Raptor to target county drug lines.
He said: “Our extensive investigation has seen the dismantling of a drug line responsible for distributing harmful Class A substances not only in Essex, but across the country.
“Those responsible believed they could hide their illicit and brazen operation behind encrypted messages.
“They were wrong.
“We have been consistently clear that drug life doesn’t pay in Essex. Those who believe they can evade the law and sell illicit drugs to vulnerable people in our communities are mistaken.”