South London drug dealer busted after letting slip his birthday in encrypted messages

A drug supplier who used an encrypted messaging service to sell cocaine has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The investigation led by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Metropolitan Police found the incriminating messages on EncroChat, a Europe-based communications network.

Police infiltrated the network between March and June 2020 during a Europe-wide investigation

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The service had around 60,000 subscribers at the time of its closure, and over 1,000 arrests have been made across Europe in connection to service.

Police began investigating an Encrochat user named ‘Sleekyak’ who was using the service to sell cocaine.

Sleekyak boasted that they were able to sell large quantities of the drug per week, and also discussed the laundering of £37,000.

Twelve of the seventeen images they had exchanged were of what appeared to be kilo blocks of cocaine.

The force tracked down Lee Broughton, 40, from Epsom after he inadvertently revealed his date of birth when using EncroChat.

NCA and Met officers arrested Broughton for Conspiracy to Supply Class A Drugs and money laundering on March 31, 2021, at his girlfriend’s house in Epsom, South London.

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Broughton had 14 previous convictions for drug offences committed between 1997 and 2013, including supplying MDMA and cocaine.

On April 30, 2021, Broughton pleaded guilty at Kingston Crown Court for the supply of cocaine and was sentenced to 10 years in prison on August 19.

DCI Mark Brookes, Head of the OCP said: “Disrupting organised criminals and their wider networks is a crucial part of preventing Class A drugs from reaching streets in the UK.

“Broughton is a career drug supplier who for decades has sought to profit from a trade that fuels violence, misery and destroys the fabric of society.

“He attempted to use encrypted technology to evade detection, but we in UK law enforcement are determined to prevent criminals from operating with impunity.

“This investigation is yet another example of the NCA and Metropolitan Police Service working together to protect the UK public.”

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