Class A drug conspirator who attempted to outsmart police has been jailed.
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Joseph McCormick (09/06/1981), of Bob Massey Close, Manchester was this week (Tuesday 4 October) jailed for his role in a conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
McCormick was jailed for 11 years and 4 months.
This sentencing falls under Operation Venetic, which is the UK’s response to disrupt the highly sophisticated ‘Encrochat’, a communication system used predominantly by organised criminal networks. Operation Venetic is led by the NCA and is the UK’s largest operation to tackle organised crime.
Encrypted mobile phones have been used by Organised Crime Groups for a number of years.
When the phones first came into operation, they were usually only reserved for use by top level OCG members. The use of encrypted devices has become a common accessory for criminals to network with their groups.
Unfortunately for the organised criminals, UK law enforcement accessed the ‘Encrochat’ data through a legal data hack to secure illicit communications provided by the NCA which has enabled police to secure the conviction of McCormick and other criminals
McCormick was found to have been using the alias ‘Butternoon’ while messaging other Organised Crime Group members using encrypted mobile devices to prevent police from detecting their conversations.
Yesterday the court heard Joseph McCormick, played a leading role, regularly communicating with several handles on the ‘EncroChat’ system and refer to dropping large packages of Class A drugs at multiple safe houses located across Greater Manchester.
Further implicating himself, messages show on 28th May 2020, Joseph McCormick went out to collect the drugs instead of his runners, despite being released from prison less than a year ago on previous drug offences. During the initial questioning, he was asked why he continued to commit similar offences following his previous 80-month sentence in 2015, despite knowing its illegality, to which he answered, ‘no comment’.
Joseph McCormick was arrested on the May 11 2022 in Altrincham for conspiring to supply class A drugs.
Detective Constable Chris Cotton of Challenger south city of Manchester team said: “McCormick played a leading role by using encrypted communications within an organised network of criminals and I hope that the sentencing yesterday will reassure the public that we are committed to making our communities a safer place by disrupting this type of serious criminality. We understand the scourge that drug dealing, and the supply of class A drugs brings to our communities, and we are committed in our mission to keep drugs from the streets of Greater Manchester.
“Our team worked meticulously with other agencies to piece together a timeline of McCormick’s actions to bring about charges and then a conviction for his crimes, the severity of his offences should not be underestimated. The supply of drugs in our area fuels further criminality and violence across Manchester and we are committed to disrupting their networks.
"Another important aspect in these investigations is the intelligence that is passed to us by members of the public which often plays a crucial part in our investigations.”
“As always, we welcome any information or concerns you may have about drug supply in your area. If you have information that could aid our investigations into the trade of drugs across Greater Manchester then please get in touch with us on the numbers provided below.”
If you have any concerns or see anything suspicious contact us directly on 101 or gmp.police.uk or Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555 111. Always call 999 in an emergency.