EncroChat drug boss bragged about buying girlfriend £100,000 diamond watch for Christmas

Publication Date24 May 2021
Steven Nicholls, aka EncroChat user "CubRing", dealt with the importers of drugs as he led a 116kg cocaine and heroin plot.

Nicholls directed "lieutenant" Dean Deary, who went by the handle "RecoveryMan" -a nod to the recovery business he used as a "cover" for their illicit trade.

Deary, 39, of Pinehurst Avenue, Anfield, deployed cars with secret compartments or "hides" -vehicles referred to as "pies" -for moving drugs and cash.

The plot saw Nicholls, 41, of Ibbotsons Lane, Aigburth, reap the rewards, as he sent a picture confirming his current running balance of £1,335,500.

The gang were making so much money, they talked about hiding it under floorboards and in wall cavities.

On April 3, 2020, one conspirator text Nicholls: "No lad it's all the work money under there lad its in walls under floors the lot theres that much."

Nicholls warned him: "Lad u got over million quid. Lad don't tell any one nothing ye no ever."

He talked about his plans for the business, messaging another EncroChat user on April 6: "Lad I just want few mil then am done."

On May 18, another user said to Nicholls: "You are selling industrial amounts of cocaine and driving a 60 k motor."

Nicholls also sent a picture of a £106,000 Richard Mille Diamond watch and said: "Gona get her that for Xmas."

The clandestine phone network was hacked by the French authorities, who supplied the data to the National Crime Agency and Merseyside Police.

Detectives identified huge amounts of money had been hidden at a safehouse in Everton, where they recovered more than £500,000 in dirty cash hidden under floorboards.

A raid at Deary's home then saw five kilos of up to 86% pure cocaine seized, which when cut could have had a street value of up to £500,000.

Liverpool Crown Court heard their plot involved the supply of an estimated 112kg of cocaine and 4.5kg of heroin between March 26 and June 22, 2020.

Nicholls had 37 EncroChat handles stored in his phone and spoke to at least 20 users during this period, while Deary had 73 handles and was in touch with 24.

Henry Riding, prosecuting, said Nicholls discussed "on a near daily basis" supplying substantial quantities of cocaine and heroin, showing he was working at the "highest level".

Mr Riding said there was a reference on at least one occasion to Nicholls dealing with the importers of these drugs.

He said Nicholls enjoyed "rewards" consistent with this "vast" operation, with "frequent reference made to sums measured in hundreds of thousands of pounds and on...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT