Dealer responsible for £500k worth of drugs caught

Custody image of Luke Waters

Luke Waters was caught after "secret" messages were cracked. - Credit: Cambridgeshire Police

A dealer, responsible for the distribution of £500,000 worth of cocaine and heroin, has been caught after "secret" messages were cracked.

26-year-old Luke Waters is one of "many" individuals to be caught after Encrochat (one of the world’s largest providers of encrypted communications) was cracked by international law enforcement.

Waters had been linked to the platform handle "decentsatin", and had been communicating with other known drug dealers.

These included 42-year-old Jaspreet Virdee, who was jailed for 11-and-a-half years in March.

Two watches on a wrist.

Luke Waters "boasted" about his high-end watches on social media. - Credit: Cambridgeshire Police

Amongst the encrypted messages, were ones which showed Waters confirming that his cocaine had "landed" in the United Kingdom.

He had also offered to sell the class-A drug to other dealers, at around £40,000 per kilo.

On July 28, 2021, following reports of a suspected drug deal, Luke Waters was stopped and arrested on the A47 heading towards Eye, in Peterborough.

Four watches on a wrist, in a social media post.

Waters referred to these watches as "street trophies". - Credit: Cambridgeshire Police

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He was released under investigation after claiming that £3,914 in cash, found on his person, was for a car he was on his way to buy.

On December 29, 2021, Waters was arrested again, after further investigation by officers.

He was taken into custody at a fuel station in Bourne, Lincolnshire.

A money counter with the caption "Yaxley money".

Waters frequently posted on social media about the money and lifestyle he had gained. - Credit: Cambridgeshire Police

This was due to evidence gathered of him "living a lavish lifestyle". 

The man from Salix Road, Hampton Hargate, had been posting on social media about high-end purchases of watches, having “street trophies” and splashing cash.

Images of what appeared to be the individual throwing a phone into the sea, with the caption "Bye Encro", were discovered after police downloaded his mobile phone.

Waters, holding a bag full of cash on his shoulder.

Waters' "lavish lifestyle" was eventually used as evidence against him. - Credit: Cambridge Police

These images were taken after EncroChat had been decrypted by law enforcement.

Luke Waters was charged with being concerned in the supply of cocaine and heroin, as well as acquiring criminal property.

He admitted all charges in court.

Money in a paper bag.

Waters is one of "many" individuals to be caught after Encrochat was cracked by international law inforcement. - Credit: Cambridgeshire Police

Waters also admitted assault by beating, having punched a man in the face on December 27, 2021, over a fallout with his brother.

The 26-year-old appeared at Peterborough Crown Court yesterday (Friday, July 1), where he was sentenced to 10 years and two months in prison. 

When sentencing, Judge Matthew Lowe said Waters was involved in the wholesale supply of class A drugs and had acted for financial gain, with an abundance of evidence showing his significant assets.

Bank notes, held together by elastic bands.

Waters' offered to sell his class-A drug to other dealers, at around £40,000 per kilo. - Credit: Cambridgeshire Police

The judge added that Waters was close to importation sources and aggravating factors to his sentence included his previous convictions for drug supply, continued involvement in drug supply until December 2021, utilising technology for his activities.

Lastly, he added that there was little in the way of mitigation other than Waters’ young age.

A mobile phone with the caption "Bye Encro".

Images of what appeared to be the individual throwing a phone into the sea, with the caption "Bye Encro", were discovered by police. - Credit: Cambridgeshire Police

Detective Constable Andy MacDonald, of Cambridgeshire Police, said: "This investigation began in spring 2020 as part of Operation Venetic, the UK’s biggest ever law enforcement operation, which saw data uncovered following the seizure of servers linked to the EncroChat platform – an encryption tool used exclusively by criminals to communicate with each other.

“The revelation allowed us to view messages and other media sent between users of the platform as they discussed large-scale criminality such as the movement of drugs and weapons.

An image of the sea, and something being thrown into it.

Waters was sentenced to 10 years and two months in prison. - Credit: Cambridgeshire Police

“Drug dealers such as Waters think they can operate above the law, however we will always catch up with them in then end.

“We will now be looking to use Proceeds of Crime Act legislation to strip him of his ill-gotten gains.”

Suspected drug-related activity can be reported to Cambridgeshire Police online, or by calling non-emergency number 101.