Drug supplier who used encrypted chat is exposed by police
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A drug supplier who used an encrypted chat platform to sell bulk quantities of cocaine across Nottinghamshire has been jailed.
David Cripwell played a leading role in the sale of tens of thousands of pounds worth of the Class A drug and other illicit substances over a seven-week period.
Using an encrypted ‘Encrochat’ phone he owned and ran himself, Cripwell regularly communicated with other suppliers and dealers using similar devices to arrange the sale of large drug orders.
Between 6 April 2020 and 28 May 2020, the 38-year-old was involved in the purchase and onward supply of Class A and Class B drugs, namely cocaine, ecstasy, and amphetamines, as well as Class C drugs, including temazepam tablets.
Cripwell bought cocaine by the kilo – at a cost of around £40,000 each time – and used the Encrochat platform to negotiate on prices and agree locations to exchange drugs and cash.
During this period Cripwell was also involved in the supply of substances used for the production of amphetamines, and police found conversations on Cripwell’s Encrochat account about the trading of these substances that showed he’d been purchasing drugs in quantities valued at tens of thousands of pounds.
These chat logs showed the supplier using the Encrochat network to arrange the purchase of £40,000 worth of cocaine on 6 April 2020, which was then delivered to Nottingham the following day.
This practice would be repeated multiple times over the next few weeks, and evidence of conversations between Cripwell and other Encrochat users linked him to the repeated sale of Class A, Class B, and Class C drugs, as well as the collection of cash.
Cripwell was arrested following a coordinated raid at a property in Mansfield on 25 September 2020.
During an extensive investigation by Nottinghamshire Police, officers obtained data from Cripwell’s Encrochat account that provided access to the chats he was involved in and provided police with evidence of the drug supply conspiracy.
Having originally denied any wrongdoing, Cripwell eventually pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, conspiracy to supply Class B drugs and conspiracy to supply Class C drugs.
Cripwell, of Mansfield Road, Sutton in Ashfield, appeared at Nottingham Crown Court for sentencing on Thursday (17 August), where he was sentenced to 11 years in prison.
Detective Constable Craig Barrow, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Messages sent and received by David Cripwell’s Encrochat phone revealed that he had purchased and sold illegal drugs worth tens of thousands of pounds.
“Cripwell repeatedly traded large quantities of cocaine, and other Class A, Class B and Class C drugs, and used the encrypted Encrochat messaging platform to communicate with his criminal associates, apparently in the belief that this technology would prevent his illegal activities from being detected. He was wrong.
“The prison sentence imposed by the court reflects the seriousness of the offences committed by Cripwell, and should serve as a warning to anyone who is considering becoming involved in the supply of controlled drugs.”