A “seasoned” drug dealer has been jailed after posting a photo of his driving licence in a murky network favoured by the criminal underworld.
James Carroll believed he was committing crimes with impunity using a highly encrypted phone.
However, his trust in the EncroChat system came back to haunt him after he was linked to a huge operation directed by a Spain-based drug boss.
Carroll was involved in supplying more than 11 kilos of cocaine in deals that raked in about £674,000, reports The Manchester Evening News.
Carroll, 36, of Oldham, was discovered to be operating on the shady system, which was hacked by law enforcement, using the handle “Buckswamp”.
Manchester Crown Court heard he took orders from another EncroChat user known as Faded Pickle, who was believed to be operating from Spain.
He was unmasked after police trawled through EncroChat messages, using identifying features to link the anonymous messages to a real life person.
Detectives found that Carroll had sent pictures of his flat to other users on the system, as well as a picture which included his own driving licence.
A takeaway food order also helped police tie Carroll to the Buckswamp handle.
Prosecuting, Joshua Bowker said: “Buckswamp was attributed to this defendant through data from the Encrochat phone, including reference to a vehicle used by the defendant, photographs sent of the defendant’s flat, photographs that included the defendant’s driving licence, and the use of other lawful applications using the username ‘JimCazz’ and the ordering of food to the defendant’s flat.”
He completed day to day tasks including collecting and delivering drugs and cash.
He also collected a Glock pistol on behalf of Faded Pickle, and sent him pictures of the deadly firearm.
Carroll told Faded Pickle that he thought the weapon was “sick”.
Carroll was involved in the drug dealing operation for a 10 week period from March to June 2020, around the time that those operating the EncroChat servers notified its users that the system had been compromised.
He was only arrested two-and-a-half years later, in October last year, and subsequently pleaded guilty.
Carroll left crime behind him had found a job working on the railways, his barrister Katherine Pierpoint said.
“It does show he is somebody who is capable of putting his offending behind him and living a law abiding life,” she said.
Carroll has previously served two prison sentences for cocaine dealing, in 2015 and 2017.
After being released on licence in 2019, Carroll succumbed back into dealing because of a drug debt, Ms Pierpoint said.
Sentencing, Judge Hilary Manley said Carroll was “highly trusted” and described him as an “experienced, seasoned class A drug dealer”.
He was sentenced to 12 years, and will serve half of his sentence in prison.
Carroll, of Nixon Street, Oldham, pleaded guilty to three counts of supplying class A drugs, one count of purchasing or acquiring a prohibited firearm and one count of transferring criminal property.