Ashraf Khan, instructed by Noel Tully of Mark Jones and Partners, secured an acquittal for LW in Operation Aquarium, following a 5-week trial at Liverpool Crown Court. The defendants were all charged with conspiracy to produce and supply Class A and B drugs on an industrial scale from illicit factories based in Liverpool and North Wales.

Operation Aquarium was Merseyside Police’s investigation into the extensive use of encrypted mobile devices (EncroChat) by serious organised criminals from within the Merseyside area. The case focussed on a Merseyside Organised Crime Group (“OCG”), identified as using the EncroChat service. This group were responsible for the large scale distribution of Class A and B controlled drugs. A substantial part of the prosecution case focussed on discussions between ‘handles’ which evidence multiple occasions where controlled drug commodities have been exchanged as well as financial outlay / remuneration in respect of these transactions.

Apart from the arrangement and subsequent supply of Class A and B controlled drug commodities, the OCG were also responsible for the production of the Class B drug Amphetamine which led to Merseyside Police taking enforcement action in respect of an Amphetamine Lab which had been established. A large number of defendants were arrested and charged with conspiracy to produce and supply controlled drugs.

The jury acquitted LW of all charges.