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Special investigation Ulster drugs gangs running competitions to entice new customers on encrypted app Telegram

Now you can order up cocaine and anything else you want and have it delivered to your door as easy as ordering a pizza.”

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Narcotics delivered to your door as easily as a pizza. Stock image

Narcotics delivered to your door as easily as a pizza. Stock image

Narcotics delivered to your door as easily as a pizza. Stock image

Ulster’s paramilitary gangs are raking in millions of pounds after turning an everyday mobile chat service into a one-stop-shop for criminals.

This week the Sunday World has infiltrated the drug dealing of some of Ulster’s most notorious crime gangs and can reveal the secret names they are using to sell their deadly drugs on the Telegram encrypted messaging service.

And they are doing it in plain sight right under the noses of the PSNI with some even openly mocking the police – one group calling themselves ‘The Belfast Narcos’ sign off with ‘F88k Cops’.

“The days of a drug dealer hanging round the street corner waiting for you to pass by are long gone,” said one insider.

“Now you can order up cocaine and anything else you want and have it delivered to your door as easy as ordering a pizza.”

And cocaine is being sold for as little as £25 per gram for what’s known as ‘social’ or ‘street’ coke – that’s cocaine which has been mixed with three parts Benzocaine and one part cocaine.

With Ulster is in the grip of a drugs epidemic, chatrooms on the Telegram service are turned into open-air drug markets with verified buyers and ‘vendors’ sending members menus of deadly narcotics.

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Narcotics delivered to your door as easily as a pizza

Narcotics delivered to your door as easily as a pizza

Narcotics delivered to your door as easily as a pizza

Some even run sales offers to drum up business with free drugs prize draws giving the chance to win four grammes of cannabis for introducing new customers to the group.

Over the last month, with the help of insiders, we have been watching the gangs promoting their drug business seemingly without fear of ever being caught.

From East Belfast UVF to the UDA’s notorious South East Antrim Brigade, they’re all piggy-backing on the platform Telegram because of the security and anonymity it provides.

Telegram works on a similar basis to WhatsApp but it offers and added layer of security through its ‘secret’ chatrooms and the fact its owner has vowed not to hand over users’ details to law enforcement agencies.

Through a contact we had using the platform, we spoke to dealers who confirmed who they were dealing for.


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“I’m a dealer selling cocaine and was told by the East Belfast UVF to use Telegram as the way to do my business,” said one dealer we agreed not to identify.

“The orders are flying in, I’m making thousands a week and I have pay off the UVF £2,000. Other dealers pay less, some pay more, depends on the amount of business they are doing.

“I’m not in the UVF but nobody can deal cocaine in east Belfast without kicking back to the UVF – well not if they want to stay alive that is.

“The Telegram service has been a godsend. It makes it so much easier. People hit you up for orders and we send out runners to do the face-to-face meet-up to get the cash.

“Trusted buyers get it delivered to their house. It’s mostly young ones doing the running – they use scooters and they use the likes of the Comber Greenway to get about without getting caught by the cops.”

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Ulsters paramilitary gangs are raking in millions of pounds after turning an everyday mobile chat service into a one-stop-shop for criminals.

Ulsters paramilitary gangs are raking in millions of pounds after turning an everyday mobile chat service into a one-stop-shop for criminals.

Ulsters paramilitary gangs are raking in millions of pounds after turning an everyday mobile chat service into a one-stop-shop for criminals.

The Comber Greenway is a pedestrian walk and cycle path which connects the lower Newtownards Road to the rest of east Belfast – stretching all the way to Comber seven miles away.

It’s become a useful tool to drug dealers as an effective way of moving small amounts of gear. With hundreds of entries and exits, runners can quickly join and leave it and it runs right through the back of Ballybeen estate.

Earlier this year we revealed in this paper how global crime gangs were using Telegram and how Irish drug users had started using an app called Televend to have drugs posted from all over the globe.

Now local drug gangs are getting in on the action and brazenly selling cocaine, ecstasy, heroin and prescription drugs.

Drug dealers have turned to Telegram and other legal platforms to sell their gear in the wake of the EncroChat phone system being cracked by European organised crime investigators.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) in the UK has arrested more than 1,500 suspects for gun and drug crime, conspiracy to murder and many other gangland offences after it hacked the EncroChat network.

Dozens of suspected drug dealers are awaiting trial in Northern Ireland as a result.

By the start of May figures revealed the NCA also seized 5,000kg of Class A drugs, 115 firearms and £56 million of criminals’ cash as a direct result of the information received from Europol.

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Drugs for sale

Drugs for sale

Drugs for sale

Like Telegram, EncroChat used end-to-end encryption on phones it sold its customers and major crime lords – like Irish trucker Tommy Maher who was among the first major criminals to be convicted – who regularly communicated with associates in Ireland and the UK.

UK police found that 9,000 handsets had been sold to criminals in Britain.

“Drug dealers have turned to the likes of Telegram because of the security and also because they reckon the cops are mostly not interested in their relatively small operation,” said one internet expert.

“The cops are only going to get excited if it’s an international smuggling operation – otherwise everyone else is being left to do their dirty business.

“It’s too much hassle and work chasing smaller dealers but what the police maybe don’t understand is that with the likes of a paramilitary gang like the East Belfast UVF they have dozens, if not hundreds, of dealers selling gear on this kind of platform so when it’s all added up it soon becomes big numbers.

“On the other side what the dealers don’t understand is that while they are getting away with it now they may be caught out later down the line.”

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Recently we revealed how a huge cocaine dealing operation run by the West Belfast UDA had been shut down after the self-confessed dealer behind the business – David ‘Dee’ Jenkins – fled Ulster after a fallout with his associates in the terror group.

He revealed how – under the name Mr P – he’d been making £500,000 a month for the UDA but when they botched a bid to shoot him dead he spilled the beans on their lucrative pure cocaine operation.

To show how brazen the West Belfast UDA were about the operation, they started it up again using the Mr P name and have been flat-out on Telegram selling again.

“The MR P name was obviously so important to them they didn’t want to change it even though Dee Jenkins had exposed they were the UDA,” said an insider on the network.

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Dealer David ‘Dee’ Jenkins

Dealer David ‘Dee’ Jenkins

Dealer David ‘Dee’ Jenkins

“Mr P was so well known across Ireland for dealing good cocaine they didn’t want to lose it. It’s like a brand that buyers trusted for good gear so they kept it.

“It just shows how the cops are way behind them though – they have no fear of being caught.”

Mr P – under the username Emporer_P – was back knocking out pure grams of coke for just £90, or for £100 you could buy seven grams of what they call ‘social coke’ and Mr P included a video showing ‘his’ gear and how ‘pure’ it is supposed to be.

But the Shankill’s notorious West Belfast UDA aren’t the only ones jumping on Telegram to run their business.

Here we can reveal the East Belfast UVF’s main cannabis and prescription drugs page which uses the title @potsnoopyni Incorporated as their handle and sells on the Belfast F2F (Face to Face) site.

Using a picture of the iconic Harland and Wolff crane, they certainly promise to get you high with their deals for a vast array of narcotics.

They also offer a kilo of dental anaesthetic Benzocaine for £200 which is widely used by street dealers to cut with cocaine to increase profits.

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Drugs

Drugs

Drugs

Potsnoopy is listed as a trusted vendor but from our investigation it shows the East Belfast UVF is inter-connected with various other crime gangs.

They allow cocaine dealers to piggyback on their site – in return for kickbacks – including dealers from the east Belfast area of Short Strand.

On other groups you’ll find east Belfast cocaine dealers selling their gear, including one of their most successful who calls himself Sammy and sells both street and pure cocaine for delivery or collection.

South East Antrim UDA also have a network of dealers working on Telegram using a range of chatrooms including Belfast Afterhours, which has over 2,000 members – that’s buyers and dealers of various illegal ‘goodies’.

One of their main dealers who calls themselves Tomb Raider specialises in home-grown cannabis and cannabis resin-filled needles. They recently offered a prize giveaway of drugs in return for bringing in new customers.

“So much weed is being grown here in Northern Ireland and this is the easiest way of shifting it,” said a source.

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Ulsters paramilitary gangs are raking in millions of pounds after turning an everyday mobile chat service into a one-stop-shop for criminals.
This week the Sunday World has infiltrated the drug dealing some of Ulsters most notorious crime gangs and can reveal the secret names they are using to sell their deadly drugs on the Telegram encrypted messaging service

Ulsters paramilitary gangs are raking in millions of pounds after turning an everyday mobile chat service into a one-stop-shop for criminals. This week the Sunday World has infiltrated the drug dealing some of Ulsters most notorious crime gangs and can reveal the secret names they are using to sell their deadly drugs on the Telegram encrypted messaging service

Ulsters paramilitary gangs are raking in millions of pounds after turning an everyday mobile chat service into a one-stop-shop for criminals. This week the Sunday World has infiltrated the drug dealing some of Ulsters most notorious crime gangs and can reveal the secret names they are using to sell their deadly drugs on the Telegram encrypted messaging service

“There are grow houses in every town of Northern Ireland. The cops raid one but miss another ten and the profits are huge.”

North Antrim UDA’s operation is noticeable by the fact they specifically dictate that heroin is banned from being sold – even some paramilitaries have ‘ethics’ when it comes to which drugs are OK to make profits from!

Anyone selling heroin is booted off the page.

One North Antrim UDA dealer using the Derry/Londonderry Narcotics chatroom under the name Freddy Star sells a wide range of prescription drugs, which are ethically sound seemingly.

The Sunday World understands the PSNI is struggling to keep tabs on the dealing being carried out on the Telegram platform.

We asked them about the rampant criminality and what resources it was putting towards combating it.

In a short statement it replied: “PSNI are aware of the increased use of technology by criminal groups. This transcends the spectrum of communication applications to trading in illicit goods and service on darknet criminal marketplaces.

“PSNI are committed to proactively tackling the issue of illegal drugs and the harm it brings to individuals and communities in NI from wherever that threat emanates.

“We would encourage members of the public with information regarding drug dealing to call 101, or you can submit a report online using our non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport.”

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