A drug dealer on the run from the cops in Liverpool has been caught after sharing a picture holding some finely well-aged cheddar. As Thanos would say: “a small price to pay for [cheese]”.
Carl Stewart is a 39-year-old man from Liverpool, UK, who was under investigation by police under heavy drug supplying charges. He was considered notoriously hard to track down. That is, until he shared a picture of “his love of Stilton cheese” on EncroChat, an encrypted messaging service used around illegal drug dealing circles.
According to Merseyside Police, while the photo doesn’t show any facial features, analysts examined the palm and fingerprints of the man’s hand in the image and were able to decipher that it was him.
The funniest bit: all the man wanted to do by sharing the pic was gauge the underground market’s interest in illegal cheese-trading. This man really tried to make cheddar by any sort of illegal trading means necessary. But, no more fancy cheeses for this criminal rat-boy.
Stewart, who went about online by his EncroChat username, “Toffeeforce”, a reference to the Everton football club, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine, heroin, MDMA, and ketamine, as well as transferring criminal property, on Friday. The police operation to track him down was part of a larger scheme by British police dubbed “Operation Venetic” that aims to put a stop on illegal activity on the encrypted messenger app.
“As part of Operation Venetic, Merseyside Police has so far arrested more than 60 people, many of whom have been charged with serious drug trafficking or firearms offences,” Detective Inspector Lee Wilkinson said in a statement.
“This year will see a number of these people continuing to appear before the courts, and we welcome each and every one.
“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.”
Carl Stewart was sentenced to 13 years and six months in prison and, much like his cheese of choice, must be feeling rather blue.