Totally cheesy: A Liverpool man has been arrested and charged with selling heroin, MDMA, ketamine, and cocaine. There is nothing too uncommon about that. It's how the police caught him that is interesting. A simple wedge of cheese gave him away.
Authorities arrested Carl Stewart of Liverpool after posting a picture of a wedge of cheese he was holding in his hand to EncroChat. The image displayed three of his fingertips, the side of his thumb, and most of his palm.
Unfortunately for him, authorities cracked the app quite some time ago and have been busting crooks left and right. Merseyside Police said the image resolution was high enough to pull his prints and identify him in a criminal database.
JAILED | A man identified through a picture of a block of cheese is the latest to be jailed as part of #OpVenetic. Carl Stewart, 39, was sentenced to 13 & a half yrs in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs. Read more 👉https://t.co/Mh9DrsxAR4 pic.twitter.com/2nNZpFdXK7— Merseyside Police (@MerseyPolice) May 21, 2021
The bust was part of an ongoing effort called "Operation Venetic," which uses the compromised app to locate and arrest drug dealers, gun runners, and other criminals.
"Around 60,000 users of EncroChat have been identified worldwide, with about 10,000 of them in the UK – all involved in coordinating and planning the supply and distribution of drugs and weapons, money laundering and other criminal activity," Merseyside Police announced in a statement. "Arrests are continuing across Merseyside as part of the operation."
So far, Merseyside authorities alone have made over 60 arrests in the small English county, former home to The Beatles. Stewart is just the latest of many to come. Liverpool Crown Court sentenced him to 13 years six months in prison after pleading guilty to five counts of drug trafficking.