Warrington man running online illegal drugs shop jailed
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A man who was running a large scale enterprise selling cannabis-laced sweets on social media from his one bedroom flat has been jailed.
Jack Routledge-Wrench from Knutsford Road, Warrington appeared at Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday 15 March to be sentenced after pleading guilty to possession with intent to supply Class B drugs (Cannabis), possession of a Class B drug (other), possession of Class B drugs (cannabis) and Possession of Class B drugs (other).
The 29-year-old was sentenced to five years and three months for selling the drug and drug infused sweets on Instagram following a lengthy and complex investigation by Warrington Local Policing Unit’s Proactive CID.
They began their enquiries into Routledge-Wrench’s activities on Instagram in April 2020 following information that he was selling drugs and edibles online.
In total he had three Instagram accounts selling cannabis and cannabis-laced edibles such as Nerd ropes, Chewits, chocolates, vape fluid and syrups.
One of the accounts was public so anyone could see his posts while two others were closed and only viewable by sending a ‘friend request’.
Officers investigating identified Routledge-Wrench as the suspect heading up this operation.
Potential customers making enquiries were directed to contact him directly through what he thought was a secure messaging app, but police were able to see the messages that would help convict him.
The evidence against him continued to grow, and the net closed in on 10 February 2021 when a warrant was executed at his flat above a shop in Knutsford Road.
Officers discovered what they considered a large scale production with every room in the small flat having its purpose, from storage to production to preparation for delivery.
A large quantity of cannabis, THC infused vapes and infused sweets were seized along with a laptop, desktop computer and mobile hard drive.
DS Tom Hall said:
“The scale of his business was significant, amassing approximately £50,000 in ill-gotten gains and spending thousands on printed labels for the products he was selling. All the incredible efforts he put into his ‘business’ will be for nothing as he now faces time behind bars, his assets have been frozen, and the money he made through it will be subject to a Proceeds of Crime Act application.
“Thanks to our team of dedicated detectives and our own team’s drug experts, we were able to track down and shut down this illegal business. It was a lengthy and complicated investigation and today’s result is a credit to the officers and colleagues who worked tirelessly on this investigation. I hope it serves as a warning to others, we might be putting your door through next.”