Three members of an organised crime group who used the encrypted messaging platform Encrochat to bring Class A drugs into Bristol and the South West have been jailed.
Jai Stephens, 35, David Antill, 56 and Hannah Jordan, 44, were sentenced at Bristol Crown Court on Thursday 14 April to a total of 25 years and three months.
They all admitted offences following a lengthy investigation by Avon and Somerset Police's Complex Crime Unit which began in June 2020. Intelligence was supplied by the National Crime Agency.
Stephens, of Southmead in Bristol, was sentenced to 12 years and nine months for six offences. There were two counts of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs (heroin and cocaine); two counts of being concerned in the supply of class B drugs (cannabis); transferring criminal property (cash) and possessing criminal property (cash).
Antil, of Sea Mills, Bristol was sentenced to eight years for one count of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs (heroin).
Jordan, of Telford, has been sentenced to four years and six months for four offences. One count of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs (cocaine); one count of being concerned in the supply of class B drugs (cannabis); one count of converting criminal property (cash) and one count of transferring criminal property (cash).
The investigation found that in June 2020, Stephens used the encrypted messaging network to arrange for seven kilos of heroin to be delivered to a street in the Shirehampton area of Bristol.
This haul, which had an estimated street value of £700,000, was then collected by Antil.
Five months later, Jordan attended the home of Stephens and left with several carrier bags.
She was stopped by officers while driving along the M5 and more than £121,000 in cash was seized from her vehicle.
Later, it was found she was regularly acting as a courier to supply drugs and collect money from people also involved in criminality organised through the encrypted network.
When Stephens was arrested in June 2021, more than £30,000 in cash was seized along with a mobile phone providing further evidence of an ongoing wholesale supply of the class B drug cannabis.
Detective Inspector Tim Seaman said: “This was a lengthy and complex investigation which identified these defendants who had believed they could remain undetected by using an encrypted network to organise and arrange for the supply of class A and B drugs across our force area.
“Thanks to partnership working with the National Crime Agency and the dedication of the officers and staff involved in the investigation, we were able to uncover the extent of the criminality, which continued after the encrypted network was taken down, and bring them to justice.”