Two drugs dealers who were part of an operation turning over £4.2m every three months have been jailed after police cracked their encrypted chats.
Stephen Dalton and Adam Lynn thought they’d evade detection using EncroChat, a phone messaging service favoured by criminals, as it promised private app chats.

Dalton and Lynn
L-R Dalton and Lynn


On it they discussed large shipments of drugs, as much as 110kg of cocaine in just three months, which they were supplying across the West Midlands and beyond.

Drugs
Some drugs seized

Like thousands of other criminals they wrongly believed they were operating under the radar of police and chatted about their deals using encro handles. Lynn as ‘Mushroomborn’ and Dalton used the handle ‘Hardbeer’.

But law enforcement agencies in Europe had developed a way to collect to data from EncroChat…so their days of believing they were untouchable were numbered.

The wealth of encrypted data, including Dalton and Lynn’s chats, was processed by the UK National Crime Agency (NCA) and a huge operation undertaken by the West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU).

In their conversations we found the pair talking about the price of the cocaine – estimating the price per kilogram at £38,000 – and their potential profits, plus drug purity, money owed and even how Covid would impact their operation.

As a result of their encrypted handles being cracked and their criminal activities being revealed, officers stopped Lynn in West Bromwich on 14 October 2020. 

He tried to run but after a short chase he was arrested in Bell Street. As he was being put in a police vehicle he tried to destroy a SIM card from the mobile phone he had on him.

Officers went on to search his home where cocaine was discovered as well as a room which had been converted for the production of cannabis.

Drugs
Cannabis 

Later that evening Dalton was then arrested from the driveway of his home.

Dalton and Lynn, who both appeared at Birmingham Crown Court for sentence on Monday (4 April), had both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine between 1 March 2020 and 12 June 2020, at an earlier hearing.

Dalton, aged 54, of Short Heath road, Birmingham, was jailed for 12 years and eight months and Lynn, aged 32, of Kingstanding Road, Kingstanding, was sentenced to 10 years and eight months

Detective Chief Inspector Leanne Lowe from ROCU, said: “There were many strands to the evidence we compiled in this complex investigation.

“We used their conversations and images they sent each other, as well as mobile phone data to establish how they were connected and what they were doing.

“And it resulted in an extremely extensive supply chain of cocaine being disrupted.”