A trainee employment lawyer, Neema Seifzadeh, 27, has been jailed for six years, for his role in a £1.5 million plot to sell cocaine and ketamine over the encrypted network Encrochat.
Seifzadeh, who worked on a pro bono legal advice hotline, was sentenced to six years imprisonment on Tuesday at Manchester Crown Court, for helping to move £1.5 million in cash and supplying 20 kg of ketamine.
The company director’s son was sentenced alongside his business partner Jason Musgrove, 27, who was jailed for 16-and-a-half years, after admitting to conspiracy to supply cocaine and ketamine, and plotting to buy a Škorpion machine gun pistol, according to the Daily Mail.
The convictions come after police infiltrated the encrypted Encrochat network to discover that Seifzadeh and Musgrove had helped to supply at least 20 kg of cocaine and 45 kg of ketamine to at least 14 different customers.
In defending his client at Manchester Crown Court, Seifzadeh’s defence counsel Michael Lavery said the 27-yearold had been a junior partner in the operation, and that he fallen into selling drugs due previously self-medicating with ketamine. Neither Seifzadeh nor Musgrove had any prior criminal records.
As reported by the Daily Mail, Lavery, said: “He is of good character and comes from an impeccable family background. He is a man with intelligence and has made a terrible mistake involving himself in this behaviour.”
“He had prospects and a future and now he has thrown it away for stupid involving in offending of such seriousness. His family are prepared to give ongoing support to him. It is very unlikely he will offend again.”
“He is introverted and socially awkward. He began self-medicating with ketamine and fell in with the wrong people,” Lavery said.
In a statement, Detective Constable Dave Moran said: “These two men were responsible for the conspiracy that illicitly profited from flooding the streets of Greater Manchester with ruinous drugs that wreck lives and contribute to the violent crime we sadly so often see in our towns and cities.”
The convictions follow an 18-month-long investigation into the encrypted mobile phone network Encrochat by the National Crime Agency (NCA).
Users of the Encrochat network pay around £1,500 for a six-month contract, to access the encrypted Encrochat network via modified smartphones, that have been adapted to provide anonymity.
The NCA’s Operation Venetic has seen police make 746 arrests across the UK, after they infiltrated the encrypted Encrochat network.
The operation has resulted in the seizure £54 million in cash, two tonnes of illegal drugs, and 77 firearms, since it was first launched in 2016.
The NCA says that around 10,000 people use the Encrochat network in the UK of a total 60,000 users worldwide.