Two Convicted in Major Drugs Bust Discovered by Police on EncroChat
UK law enforcement have shut down one of the country’s largest-ever drugs laboratories, thanks to the takedown of a popular encrypted comms service in 2020.
Before police cracked it two years ago, EncroChat was used by tens of thousands of criminals globally. Hundreds of arrests and several convictions have been made as a result.
The latest convictions were handed to Andrew Gurney, 51, of Quinton, Birmingham, and Keith Davis, 62, of Chalfont St Giles. Gurney received a six year and three month sentence and Davis was handed a five year and three month sentence at Kingston Crown Court on Friday.
Both helped run a massive drugs lab near Redditch, capable of producing 400kgs of amphetamine per month. According the National Crime Agency (NCA), this could be worth up to £10 million.
The NCA said that work started on converting a double garage into the drugs lab in March 2020, and it began producing drugs two months later. Gurney used his knowledge of plumbing and electrical installation to help with this part of the project. Davis was given training in chemistry in order to operate the site.
Initially, the gang bought amphetamine pre-cursor chemical benzyl methyl ketone (BMK) but then switched to making it themselves to increase profits.
NCA officers raided the site in Ullenhall Lane, Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire, in April 2021, although they were forced to wait several hours before entering due to the hazardous chemicals inside.
The alleged ringleader John Keet, 41, of Chalfont St Giles, is due to be sentenced in August. Elliott Walker, 49, of Kidbrooke, purchased specialist equipment for the lab and was sentenced to six years in jail last December.
These convictions are the latest to come from the NCA’s Operation Venetic, which is based on intel gathered from messages on EncroChat.
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