Dealers joked about getting complaints from mums of kids they employed to sell drugs

Drug dealers who used an encrypted system joked about getting complaints from the mothers of children they were using to supply cannabis on the streets. Tony McGarry, 36, Stefan Ingram, 33, and Stephen Warde, 38, were all arrested following the Europe-wide hack into the Encrochat system, a system used exclusively by members of organised crime groups to plan criminal activities, in June 2020.

In messages recovered on their ‘Encrophones’, McGarry, acting under the username ‘RemoteRing’, was involved in the organising, buying and selling of heroin and cocaine.

Ingram, also known as ‘BloodScooter’ was his ‘right-hand man’, and Warde, known as ‘StylishBar’, was the courier of cash and drugs.

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They also discussed getting kids to work for them (also known as trapping) and joked about how they were waiting for phone calls from the kids’ mothers.

They have now each been jailed after admitting offences of conspiracy to supply class A and class B drugs.

From January 1 2020 to December 3 2020, they were in contact with at least 11 other high-level suppliers of drugs and mixing agents, and also used a ‘token’ system to control payments as well as to identify postcode locations and passwords when drugs and money were exchanged, Manchester Crown Court heard.

“The messages show that they dealt with at least nine customers through their respective encrypted devices and were clearly adulterating and thereafter supplying ‘half’ and ‘quarter’ kilos and other smaller quantities to their network of customers,” prosecutor Mark Kellet said.

Tony McGarry
(Image: GMP)

“It is clear they were operating a street level supply chain involving ‘kids’ in supplying cannabis and they joked about waiting for complaints from their dealers’ mothers.”

The court heard that McGarry was at the head of the group, dealing with the sourcing and supply of the various drugs and engaged in discussions relating to the payment and collection of debts, both up and downstream.

Stefan Ingram
(Image: GMP)

Ingram was ‘very much his right-hand man’, who was involved in couriering and storing the drugs, maintaining the ‘debtor list’, and providing instructions to others, including Warde.

Warde was involved in the delivery or collection of the various drugs and cash, but also openly discussed holding cannabis stocks, sourcing kilo quantities of cannabis and his direct involvement in the supply of both cocaine and cannabis to others.

Stephen Warde
(Image: GMP)

“In early May, towards the very end of the recovered messages, all three agreed to set up a ‘cocaine line’ dealing smaller quantities of cocaine due to the impact on their business from the restrictions imposed during the Covid pandemic,” Mr Kellet continued.

“At one stage the group held at least £54,700 and the following debts to certain suppliers were identified from the messages: ‘Ed’ – £27,600 towards the purchase of an unidentified commodity; ‘EpicBonsai’ – £20-25,000, £25,000 and then £48,000 towards the purchase of at least 4 kilos of cocaine; ‘WiseDemon’ – £46,500 towards the purchase of an unquantified amount of cannabis; and ‘GanarSologana’ – £30,000 towards the purchase of unquantified amounts of cannabis and heroin.”

Over a six week period of the recovered messages, the group sourced six kilos of cocaine, seven kilos of heroin and 24 kilos of cannabis. They were also involved in the purchase of various adulterants and the movement of at least £200,000 cash.

Mr Kellet read a number of messages to the court that had been sent between the men indicating the supply of drugs.

In one message Ingram was contacted by Warde requesting photographs of cannabis and asked if they had any cocaine, to which Ingram responded by sending an image of some herbal cannabis.

In another message Ingram discussed kilos of heroin and cocaine with user ‘Peptalk’ and Ingram provided him with instructions on how best to cut the heroin with ‘bash’ to maximise profit.

In a message exchange between McGarry and Ingram, they discussed using kids to work selling drugs (trapping) and they joked as to how they were waiting for phone calls from the kids’ mothers and Ingram made reference to ‘Mong Boy’ working in McGarry’s cannabis business.

Ingram then mentioned that he was ready to receive the kilo of heroin and they discussed and agreed the price at £14,500. McGarry told him that it would be delivered by a kid on a motorbike.

Ingram later contacted both Warde and McGarry when they discussed setting up a drug dealing line – “start a nose thing” – selling cocaine in ‘tenths’, eighths’ and ‘legs’ for cash only. Ingram and Warde both agreed indicating that they were ‘skint’ due to the lockdown affecting business and McGarry then confirmed that he would be involved.

The three were later arrested. At McGarry’s home, officers recovered a small amount of cannabis and drug paraphernalia. At Ingram’s home police officers recovered approximately £4,000, and at Warde’s address, they found a small amount of cannabis and approximately £2,500.

For McGarry, Chloe Fordham said her client was ‘further down the chain’ and was not one of the leading roles. She said there was little evidence he was leading a luxury lifestyle from the profits.

“It is clear from the defendants they were in debts,” Ms Fordham said.

For Ingram, Katherine Pierpoint said her client had been out of trouble for some years.

And for Warde, Adam Roxborough said: “He was operating under direction, rather than his own initiative.” He added that his client damaged his back whilst working as a stone mason in 2015, and succumbed to temptation when he became involved.

Sentencing them, the Recorder of Manchester, Judge Nicholas Dean KC said: “This case is a so-called Encrochat case, which indicates the level of sophistication of the criminal conspiracy with which you were involved.

“McGarry, you were organising the buying and selling of class A drugs on a commercial scale, you had large influence over others in the chain. Ingram, you played second fiddle, and Warde, you were further down the pecking order.”

As he was being sentenced, McGarry stormed out of the dock and down to the cells whilst calling the judge a ‘f*****g d**k’ and a ‘f*****g f****t’.

McGarry, of West Avenue, Moston, was jailed for 13 years and eight months; Ingram, of Greendale Drive, Radcliffe, was jailed for 11 years; and Warde, of Kingston Avenue, Oldham, was jailed for nine years.

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Manchester Evening News – Oldham