Encrypted messages cracked and two men jailed for firearm and drug offences
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Nico Logan (21/03/93) of Shayfield Road, Manchester, and Jordan Gabriel (26/02/92), of Bolam Close, have both been sentenced today (14 December) at Manchester Crown Court to a combined total of 29 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess a prohibited weapon and two counts of supplying class A drugs.
Logan was also found guilty of conspiracy to supply class B drugs and a third count of conspiracy to supply class A drugs. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison.
Gabriel was given a jail sentence of 13 years and 6 months for his part in the drugs and weapons conspiracy.
Following Operation Venetic - a nationwide operation that has seen law enforcement agencies across the UK join together and share expertise in order to break through the highly sophisticated and encrypted global communication service - data packs were processed by the National Crime Agency and allocated to various law enforcement agencies.
Within the evidential data packs given to Greater Manchester Police was content downloaded from Encrophones belonging to Logan and Gabriel.
Logan and Gabriel had been using codenames in their communication to hide their identities in the event that the police were able to bypass the Encro encryption. Months of detective work by the Operation Challenger Manchester team lead to Logan and Gabriel being identified as the two Encrophone users.
This content included a number of encrypted messages from Logan to a friend about arranging the purchase of a large amount of cannabis from Spain as well as about the price and where to store it. Following the analysis of these messages it is believed that Logan was trying to arrange the supply of cannabis.
Also extracted from the devices are messages between Logan, Gabriel and others, conspiring to source and sell large amounts of cocaine and heroin. The conversations included photographs of the drugs, cash and a conversation about sourcing a firearm with prices for the different models and photos of bullets.
The evidence showed the pair were able to acquire these drugs from a number of sources, moving them to the Manchester area through the use of a individuals who acted as couriers on their behalf, with the drugs hidden in their vehicles.
Following analysis of this intelligence, five warrants were executed across Warrington and Manchester. Logan and Gabriel were arrested and jewellery worth over £20,000 was seized.
DC Andrew Moore, of GMP's Manchester Challenger Team, said: "Logan and Gabriel thought they were above the law and could keep police from discovering their illicit activities by using encrypted messages to communicate.
"Since the breakthrough of the Encrochat system police have been able to disrupt numerous Organised Crime Groups and stop criminal activity from harming our communities.
"This sentencing is another positive step towards preventing organised crime and I hope it reassures our communities that we are committed to adapting and using innovative techniques to tackle this type of crime and the advances in criminal technology."