Three men have been jailed for a total of more than 16 years – UKNIP
Basildon BREAKING ESSEX

Three men have been jailed for a total of more than 16 years

Three men have been jailed for a total of more than 16 years after officers found £90,000 pounds in cash and Class A drugs with a street value of around £100,000 during warrants in south Essex.

Initially officers stopped a grey Range Rover as it as driving along the #A13 in #Basildon on 23 May.

Cocaine and around £50,000 in cash were found inside, as well as a number of phones including an encrypted Encro-phone.

The driver, Thomas Dowman (pictured centre), was arrested and further enquiries led officers to an address in Southernhay.

While carrying out a search of the address another man, Scott Hearn (pictured right), arrived and was found to have canisters of nitrous oxide on him as well as an amount of Ketamine.

Inside the address, officers found more than £1,100 in cash as well as evidence of cocaine supply.

A further search of an address in Oakley Park Drive revealed £35,000 in cash hidden in a shoe box as well as more cocaine.

During a final search at an address in Thorpedene Avenue, Hullbridge officers recovered more than 660 grams of cocaine and arrested a third man, David Misfud (pictured left).

In total, £90,000 in cash and Class A drugs with an estimated street value of £100,000 were seized.

All three men were later charged and at Basildon Crown Court on 22 July, Dowman, 28, of #LeighonSea admitted possession with intent to supply Class A drugs and possession of criminal property.

Misfud, 46, of #Hullbridge and 31 year-old Hearn, of #Basildon, both admitted possession with intent to supply drugs.

At the same court on Friday 31 July, Dowman was jailed for nine years, Misfud was giving six years, and Hearn was sentenced to a year and eight months in prison.

The investigation was one of those which came from Op Venetic – a major operation involving the cracking of a bespoke encrypted global communication service, exclusively used by criminals.

EncroChat offered a secure mobile phone instant messaging service with 60,000 users worldwide and around 10,000 in the UK.

The primary use was for co-ordinating and planning criminal activities including the distribution of illicit commodities and money laundering.

Since 2016, international law enforcement agencies worked together to target EncroChat, and other encrypted criminal communications platforms, and earlier this year agencies in France and the Netherlands infiltrated the platform.

The intelligence gleaned through this was then shared via Europol to national law enforcement agencies.