A major drug dealer who was living the life of luxury from peddling cocaine, heroin and amphetamines was busted thanks to a mural of of UFC superstar Conor McGregor, which had been painted on the wall of his home.
Merseyside kingpin Ryan Palin had been using EncroChat – a Europe-based encrypted phone network – to traffic narcotics but was caught out after French and Dutch police hacked into it and found photos of the artwork, depicting of the notorious Irish fighter sitting on a throne, on his device.
As a result officers managed to identify Palin as man behind the user handle 'Titch.com' and a key player in the criminal conspiracy.
The 36-year-old, from Mereworth in Wirral, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply 700kg of cocaine, 15kg of heroin and 40kg of amphetamines at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday (June 17) – although, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Palin still argued the charge.
However, when his home was raided on Thursday, December 9 last year, officers found the trappings of a luxury lifestyle, including designer clothing worth £136,000 and watches worth £129,000.
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Pictures released by Merseyside Police show Rolex watches, Balenciaga clothes and Chanel handbags, all of which were seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act, reports the Liverpool Echo.
Palin’s arrest had 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.
Palin was jailed for 29 years at the conclusion of his trial, leading to a statement from Detective Sergeant Graeme Kehoe which said, "We welcome the fact 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 he can now consider the consequences of his actions while serving a significant time in jail."
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He added that Palin’s "substantial sentence should serve as a stark warning to anyone involved in this criminality."
"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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