(AP) — A drug dealer in the English city of Liverpool thought he was the big cheese — until police
got all the evidence they needed to arrest
him from a photo he posted on social media
of himself holding a small block of creamy Stilton.
, 39, was sentenced to 13 years and six months in prison
last week after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine, heroin, MDMA, and ketamine, as well as transferring criminal property at Liverpool Crown Court
He could still be supplying large amounts of drugs if it weren't for a photo he posted of himself holding a cheese block from reputable British retailer Marks & Spencer.
Stewart was apprehended after posting the photo on the encrypted messaging service EncroChat under the handle "Toffeeforce." Unbeknownst to him, the service had been cracked by police in Europe, and his palm and fingerprints were analyzed as a result.
Stewart was “caught out by his love of Stilton cheese,” according to Merseyside Police Detective Inspector Lee Wilkinson.
Merseyside Police say around 60,000 users have now been identified worldwide, with approximately 10,000 of them in the United Kingdom alone. All are said to be involved in coordinating and planning the supply and distribution of drugs and weapons, money
laundering, and other criminal activity.
Merseyside Police arrested over 60 people
as part of Operation Venetic, and three more criminals were sentenced to long-term prison terms on Wednesday, with three more scheduled for sentencing on Thursday.
Shaun Harrison, 33, was one of those sentenced to ten years and eight months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis. Harrison was caught out after revealing personal details about himself on EncroChat, where he used the handle "Scantbee and Sandferret."
“We will leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of those who believe they are above the law, and we will continue to target anyone involved in serious organized crime
to keep this positive momentum going,” Wilkinson said.