On April 6 2020, Tahir Mahmood was released on licence following an eight-year sentence for drug offences.
Following his release, Mahmood purchased an encrypted EncroChat mobile phone in order to become involved within a drugs supply network.
Evidence produced by the National Crime Agency as part of Operation Venetic – the UK’s law enforcement response to EncroChat – showed Mahmood, who used the alias Bignotorious, used the platform to communicate with at least nine others to facilitate drug deals.
Between June 5 and 12 2020, EncroChat messages showed Mahmood dealing in the wholesale supply of heroin and cocaine across central England and the north.
Mahmood was arrested by officers from West Yorkshire Police on September 8 and recalled to prison.
Appearing before Bradford Crown Court January 28 Mahmood, 36, of Halifax, admitted conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and breaching a serious crime prevention order (SCPO).
He received 15 years for the drug supply offences and 15 months, to run concurrently, for breaching the SCPO.
Detective Sergeant Leanne Horsfield of the Serious Organised Crime Unit said: “It is clear that Mahmood thought he could re-start a drug supply business straight from prison and due to the efforts through investigation, this didn't go to plan.
“The sentence handed to Mahmood should stand as a real example of the lengthy custodial penalties those who become involved in this kind of behaviour can face for becoming involved in the kind of street drug dealing which causes misery in our communities.
"Anyone who has information about drug dealing in their communities is urged to contact the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.
"Reports to Crimestoppers can be made in total anonymity and all intelligence is investigated."