A National Crime Agency investigation found Arron James Collins, 35, and Bertram Jack Fallon, 31, used EncroChat and Wickr to arrange the importation of five kilograms of cocaine – which Border Force officers seized at London Gateway Parcel Hub in January last year.
At Bristol Crown Court on Tuesday 2 February, Collins was jailed for nine years and five months for conspiracy to import cocaine, while Fallon received six years and six months for the same conspiracy and for failing to disclose the PINs for his mobile phones.
Collins rented a property through AirBnb in Chessel Street in Bristol – between 14 and 18 January – to wait for the delivery of cocaine.
When it did not arrive, he repeatedly chased the letting company for updates after he had left.
Fallon, who NCA officers saw driving past the AirBnb address on the day it was due to be delivered, was arrested on 23 January 2020 at his home in Olveston.
Collins was later arrested at his home in Bristol, where officers found mini-scales with traces of cocaine and ketamine.
Messages analysed in June 2020 as part of a UK investigation into the encrypted messaging platform EncroChat provided further evidence of the drug-dealing operation.
Collins admitted on EncroChat that booking the property in his name and emailing the agent was a “stupid mistake” to make because it linked him to the drugs.
NCA Operations Manager Anthony Hubbard said: “These men thought they could use encrypted messaging platforms to act with impunity, but criminals who use this method to arrange drug shipments are not untouchable.
“Our priority will always be to protect the public, and we will continue to pursue criminals involved in the drugs trade, which fuels violence and exploitation throughout the UK.”