piece of work | 

Major drug dealer busted by mural depicting UFC star Conor McGregor

A man involved in a major drugs trafficking conspiracy was identified and caught after police found a photograph on his mobile phone of a mural depicting UFC star Conor McGregor

Ryan Palin

Neil Fetherstonahaugh

British drug dealer Ryan Palin (36) was jailed for 29 years after being found guilty of conspiracy to supply 700kg of cocaine, 15kg of heroin and 40kg of amphetamines at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday.

A jury heard that he was the user of the EncroChat handle 'Titch.com', which detectives had identified after the encrypted phone network was hacked by French and Dutch police.

Palin was identified as the man behind 'Titch.com' by the Conor McGregor mural, painted at his home address after detectives found pictures of it on his EncroChat device.

A raid on his Wirral home in Merseyside in December 2021 found luxury clothes worth £136,000 and watches worth £129,000. All were seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Palin was arrested, charged and remanded into custody.

Examination of data from encrypted phones revealed that, using the handle Titch.com, Palin was involved in a conspiracy to supply the drugs between 1 July 2019 and 12 May 2020.

An image on the encrypted phone showed a distinctive mural of the Ultimate Fighting Champion star Connor McGregor.

This proved key to linking the encrypted phone to Palin, as officers were able to identify that the wall the mural was painted on was a wall at the home address of Palin.

The McGregor mural

Despite this damning evidence, Palin still thought he had a fighting chance of walking free and denied the charges put to him, but was found guilty by a jury.

"Despite the overwhelming evidence against him, Palin chose to go to trial. Fortunately the jury saw through his lies and Palin can now consider the consequences of his actions while he serves a significant time in jail,” Detective Sergeant Graeme Kehoe said.

“We welcome the verdict and sentence and now that Ryan Palin is behind bars and can no longer peddle huge amounts of drugs and misery on the streets of Merseyside and beyond.

According to Merseyside Police, Palin’s arrest formed part of an operation involving European law enforcement agencies working with the National Crime Agency (NCA), and supported across the UK by police forces and Regional Organised Crime Units.

Detective Sergeant Kehoe added: "Palin’s substantial sentence should serve as a stark warning to anyone involved in this criminality that there are serious consequences. We simply won’t let people live off the profits of criminality while our law-abiding communities work hard to make an honest living - we will find you and bring you to justice.

"Merseyside Police, along with law enforcement agencies across the world, will leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of those people who think they are above the law, and we will continue to target anyone involved in serious organised crime to keep this positive momentum going.

"We rely on our local communities to be our eyes and ears as part of these investigations and I would continue to urge people to come forward if they have information which could assist us.

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