Encrochat: Dartford man caught with £630k stuffed in bags

A man who had £630,000 stuffed into sports and supermarket bags in his home in Dartford has been jailed for money laundering.

Karl Lockey, 32, of Sinclair Way, was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for money laundering following an investigation led by a special operations unit following the fall-out of Encrochat.

ERSOU Detective Inspector John Tacey said there was “no doubt that Lockey was a trusted component in criminals’ efforts to launder illicitly-made cash.”

Encrochat is a impenetrable military-grade communications network used almost exclusively by organised criminals, but Dutch and French police managed to infiltrate the system, and let a covert operation with police forces across Europe to bring down top-ranking criminals.

A total of 113 people (a total of 800 across Europe) in London were charged with criminal offences by the Met Police, including previously “untouchable” kingpins leading flashy lifestyles “beyond the MPS’ reach”.

ERSOU officers, working with Kent Police on a nation-wide operation linked to Encrochat, arrested Dartford man Lockey in June.

When searching his address, officers found over £600,000 stashed within 12 sports and shopping bags, along with a cash counting machine and an Encrochat phone.

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Messages on the Encrochat system were read by investigators, indicating the 32-year-old was involved with money laundering.

The now infiltrated communications system showed conversations arranging meetings with secret verbal passwords, discussions and pictures of the hoarded cash and receipts of the counted amounts.

The police force said a number of high-value items indicating his criminal lifestyle were seized at his home, including motorcycles, designer clothes and expensive fishing equipment.

Lockey pleaded guilty to money laundering and was jailed following a Maidstone Crown Court hearing.

Detective Inspector John Tacey said: “In addition to the sentence, my team are using the powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act to remove any ill-gotten gains acquired by Lockey. We remain committed to stopping criminals from benefitting from crime.

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“This was a significant cash seizure and there’s no doubt that Lockey was a trusted component in criminals’ efforts to launder illicitly-made cash.

“This is the latest outcome from Operation Venetic, which has already led to unprecedented results across the eastern region and allowed law enforcement to take out a key tool used by criminals across the country and beyond.

“Although significant numbers of arrests and seizures have already taken place, our specialist teams continue to work tirelessly on a number of ongoing investigations to ensure we apprehend those involved in criminal activity in eastern England.”

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