Cocaine kingpin tells court he has no money for lawyers

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A cocaine kingpin who was involved in a major drugs trafficking conspiracy told a court he had no money to fund legal representation.

Ryan Palin, aged 37, was identified as a major supplier of cocaine, heroin and amphetamines after the EncroChat encrypted phone network was hacked by French and Dutch authorities in January 2020. Palin was connected with the handle “” partly due to a bizarre, garish mural of Irish UFC star Conor McGregor.

The painting was found at his home in Caldy, Merseyside, and matched with images shared on his EncroChat device – also used to arrange the supply of 700kg of cocaine, 15kg of heroin and 40kg of amphetamines.

He was found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs at Liverpool Crown Court in June last year after a trial. He was jailed for 29 years.

Today, a hearing took place to check on the progress of proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) to seize any assets funded by his criminal lifestyle. During his trial, the court had heard his home was raided on Thursday, December 9 2021, where officers found designer clothing worth £136,000 and watches worth £129,000. Pictures released by Merseyside Police show Rolex watches, Balenciaga clothes and Chanel handbags, all of which were seized.

Yesterday, Tuesday, Palin appeared via video-link from prison, and told the court he was not legally represented, Liverpool Echo reports.

He told the Recorder of Liverpool, Judge Andrew Menary, KC, that he had not been aware of the hearing until prison officers fetched him from his cell.

He said: “My family is in the process now of speaking to a new legal team.” He said his previous lawyers stopped representing him after the trial and he had been unaware of the POCA case.

Judge Menary asked why he was no longer represented. He replied: “I have got no money to fund it myself.” Judge Menary agreed to set a new timetable and allow Palin to seek new lawyers.

There will be a further hearing on June 26.

Speaking after the sentencing hearing, Merseyside Police said Palin’s arrest formed part of an operation involving European law enforcement agencies working with the National Crime Agency (NCA), and supported across the UK by police forces and Regional Organised Crime Units.

Detective Sergeant Graeme Kehoe said at the time: “We welcome the verdict and sentence and now that Ryan Palin is behind bars and can no longer peddle huge amounts of drugs and misery on the streets of Merseyside and beyond.

“Despite the overwhelming evidence against him, Palin chose to go to trial. Fortunately, the jury saw through his lies and Palin can now consider the consequences of his actions while he serves a significant time in jail.

“Palin’s substantial sentence should serve as a stark warning to anyone involved in this criminality that there are serious consequences. We simply won’t let people live off the profits of criminality while our law-abiding communities work hard to make an honest living – we will find you and bring you to justice.

“Merseyside Police, along with law enforcement agencies across the world, will leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of those people who think they are above the law, and we will continue to target anyone involved in serious organised crime to keep this positive momentum going.

“We rely on our local communities to be our eyes and ears as part of these investigations and I would continue to urge people to come forward if they have information which could assist us.”

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