Man jailed for 30 years for supplying industrial quantities of drugs and firearms

Man jailed for 30 years for supplying industrial quantities of drugs and firearms

A MAN has been jailed for 30 years for his role in the supply of industrial quantities of drugs and firearms. 

Peter Riley, 51, was snared after police infiltrated messages from his encrypted mobile phone as part of the National Crime Agency's Operation Venetic.

He was sentenced on Monday, February 26, after pleading guilty to a series of charges, including conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

"Riley is a very dangerous man who cared only about making vast amounts of money through the supply of illegal firearms, ammunition, and drugs," said Detective Chief Inspector Simon Turner of Durham Constabulary.

Encrypted phone

Detectives discovered that between April and May 2020, Riley was heavily involved in the sourcing and onward supply of firearms and industrial quantities of drugs.

Using the handle 'Drone-digger' on the encrypted EncroChat network, he conspired to sell prohibited weapons, ammunition and Class A drugs, namely cocaine and the synthetic psychedelic drug 2C-B.

He was arrested by police on May 26, 2020 and remanded into custody.

During a search of his Darlington home, officers found Riley's encrypted mobile phone, which was plugged in and charging.

During police interviews he replied no comment, but was later charged with several offences, including conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, conspiracy to sell prohibited ammunition and conspiracy to sell prohibited weapons.

He initially denied the offences but later changed his plea to guilty before being jailed for 30 years at Teesside Crown Court on Monday.

'Devastating consequences'

DCI Turner said Riley cared only about making money and wasn't concerned about the impact of his actions.

"He did not give a second thought to how lethal these commodities were or the devastating consequences they could have on the communities of County Durham and Darlington," he said.

"By using encrypted messaging, Riley and his associates thought they were untouchable and above the law.

"But, by working together with experts from the National Crime Agency, we were able to systematically dismantle the network and show them this wasn’t the case.

"I hope this sentence sends a strong message to others who are endangering our communities by distributing illegal drugs and weapons that we will find you, and we will bring you to justice."