Drug dealer's criminal world comes crashing down after spending £34 at butcher's

A prominent drug dealer has been jailed after a police visit to a butcher's shop uncovered his catalogue of crimes.

Dean Cooper supplied £3.68m of cocaine, £900,000 of heroin and other drugs, including ketamine, amphetamine and 50kg of cannabis resin in a huge drug sting.

The 51-year-old is just one of many criminals brought to justice thanks to a long-running probe into communications between drug dealers on EncroChat.

For years, the legal EncroChat service allowed 50,000 users worldwide - 9,000 of them in the UK - to communicate in the knowledge that law enforcement would uncover none of their texts, reports the MEN.

That ended when investigators hacked into EncroChat's server in Roubaix, northern France, in April 2020, sending bogus updates to devices across the globe which effectively mined the incriminating data criminals wanted so much to conceal. Cooper, who flooded Manchester with the drugs, is the latest criminal to be brought to justice. He used the handle Berrystar on EncroChat.

He sent messages to contacts about drug deals and NCA officers used a variety of methods to establish that Cooper and Berrystar were one and the same. They were helped by Cooper sending one criminal contact a message, saying: “You’ve got to get to this butcher on Tuesday best meat ever had mate.”

Berrystar shared the butcher’s name and when officers investigated they confirmed Cooper had spent £34 at the shop. Berrystar had also told one contact about spending £240 on two pairs of trainers. Cooper’s bank statement showed he had spent the same sum at the shoe shop mentioned in the chats.

Cops also recovered from Cooper’s home a pair of Nike Air Max 270 React trainers that he had spoken about in a separate conversation. Berrystar had also sent photographs on EncroChat from inside a house – the pictures matched the inside Cooper’s home.

In February this year Cooper appeared at Liverpool Crown Court and admitted, between 30 March 2020 and 24 April 2020, charges of conspiracy to supply cocaine, heroin, amphetamine, cannabis resin and ketamine to punters across England.

Cooper was involved in payments and exchanges of cash amounting to at least £3.73million and was jailed for 15 years.

After he was sentenced, NCA operations manager Mark Morrison said: "A lot of very careful work was initially done in this case to resolve the identity behind the Berrystar handle.

"Cooper’s conversations about his butcher and his trainers helped ensure the case was rock solid and he had no choice but to admit his guilt.

"Tackling the Class A drugs threat is a key priority for the NCA in its mission to protect the UK public."

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