international

Text messages expose secret life of ordinary dad who worked for cartel

A dad from Cheshire who lived a seemingly ordinary life was in fact organising drug deals on behalf of feared international crime gangs.

Thomas Maher simply appeared to be a successful businessman with a taste for the finer things in life.

Despite enjoying high-end cars, flash jewellery and going for slap-up meals with his family, Maher, who ran a haulage business, lived in a modest home in the suburbs of Warrington[1].

And to unsuspecting neighbours, he was to an ordinary bloke who happened to run a successful business.[2]

Yet dad-of-three Maher was in fact secretly involved in international drug deals brokering purchases for deadly trans-national crime groups reports the Liverpool Echo.[3]

And home on Wiltshire Close in the Woolston area of Warrington provided him with easy access to the nearby M6 and M62.

Maher was jailed as a result of a massive police operation which allowed investigators to read messages on the EncroChat phone network[4], which was used by established criminals.

Police outside the home of Thomas Maher in Warrington (Image: PA)

The National Crime Agency[5] ( NCA) has now provided transcripts of messages Maher sent on the EncroChat network, which reveal the degree of his involvement in the drug trade.

Maher, who used the Encro handle Satirical, discussed moving cocaine out of Colombia, where the drug is sourced.

Below are messages between Maher (Satirical) and other drug dealers – The NCA have removed the names of the men Maher communicated with.

[REDACTED] : “I have a gate into it an sending from Colombia an Africa into it..”

[REDACTED] : “All [REDACTED] on side this is too.”

Satirical: “Did it work OK and all.”

[REDACTED] : “No mate it was called off over this virus”

[REDACTED] : “I had it all lined up correct but Australia side call it off tell the corona virus is over.”

Satirical: “Its a good move that m8 . more to think of and crack on then when this s*** is over pal.”

Underworld transport boss Thomas Maher’s driveway was often lined with flash cars (Image: Liverpool ECHO)

[REDACTED] : “Million %% mate..”

[REDACTED] : “If got rite we moved the post.”

Satirical : “Thumbs up emoji.”

In another section of messages Maher discussed the presence of rival crime factions in Sweden, and business opportunities in China.

[REDACTED] : “Port lol.”

[REDACTED] : “It be the job mate..”

[REDACTED] : “Have it in Africa for 8dollars an the bit coin transfer was 4/5.”

[REDACTED] : “I’ve boys over there I grow up with said it’s 100/1200 a kilo.”

Satirical: “They say massive money over there m8 also m8 they say Sweden is a good place for work money is ment to be big bit a lot of Albanian c**** have it wrapped up there . . and why not do Africa to BG and BG to the flat m8 .”

[REDACTED] : “Yea we can we need be on the road mate.. We got put back but not lock up or dead just time to think… We can send from India into BG..”

[REDACTED] :” Ket an powers”

Some of the watches owned by Thomas Maher (Image: PA)

Satirical: “Yeah m8 also can send here I’ve that receiver here he said he takes machines from Asia China . he calls it the tax free zone m8.”

[REDACTED] : “OK mate we put abit tought into it “

In the below transcripts Maher negotiates a price for moving drugs from Holland to Ireland..

REDACTED] : … “Ill find out for your guys meet direct on the ground here too and have that constant. Just with yourself. The other one I’m waiting on now to UK for to do the same gig just waiting on details of numbers fits in stash. How often and routes etc for both runs.”

[REDACTED] : “Its 3k bit EUR to ire an I’ll sort our [REDACTED] out of that too.”

Satirical: “I’ll say that to my pal now I wasn’t sure of the price m8 and m8 I know he done a job 3 weeks ago paid 2500 per part and said it was dear enough .that’s not me being a c*** with u just saying what he said to me bk then . but I’ll confirm the 15 once he comes bk I’ll message him now.”

[REDACTED] : “I’ll see what I can do on filling them usually can have wiggle room or if I put a few on with yours I’d take my drink out of it which would dickie it down. But they know nothing is actually going an not budging on prices per bit. I’ll send this mail on sky and that its signed up yourself to shake on a price per bit.”

In another transcript Maher discusses a colleague who had been jailed as a result of a NCA led investigation into his tax affairs. Maher’s acknowledges growing pressure from the NCA in the UK and talks about fleeing the country.

Satirical: “M8 look at a lot of cases here and big players in there eyes normally its only conspiracy they get done on and can get big time . that’s why here is Tue worst place in the world for conspiracy laws and at home didn’t have them laws until last 2 or 3 years they brought it in.”

Maher was investigated by the NCA following the discovery of the bodies of 39 Vietnamese people in a refrigerated lorry in Essex in October 2019 (Image: PA)

[REDACTED] : “Yea that why I never moved to the UK over the years.. I was going like 20years ago.. An English boys use say am I mad lol.. I had a UK partner than an moved to ire.”

[REDACTED] : “I move now mate.. I just don’t see a lot here for kids..”

Satirical: “Its mad m8 I don’t know him I never met him the b fella but ya f****** feel for the c*** in away probably always played it right slipped up on the tazzer and now then this been thrown at him . that’s why I’m saying once I get clear on this sort my tax bill I’m away m8 because all they would need is to get a conspiracy on me for something.”

Maher then talks about an associate in Spain who was jailed for 32 years, and how was considering fleeing to Cyprus where there is no extradition treaty with the UK.

[REDACTED] : IMAGE OF LUXURY VILLA SENT REDACTED

[REDACTED] : “That sounds like a good a very good plan ur putting together.. Pools indoors are the bollox see that lad who doing 32 years he a gaff in marbella like 10 million mate.. On the Ronda golf cors… Tops all that in it”

Satirical: “Your just after sickening my stomach with that picture ya p****‚ I’ll show u here its not massive but would do me the best I thought turk was OK because I don’t think they having extradition rights with here . its something I can’t check on my phone or internet in the house at the minute I F****** wish I’d have 10 mill to spear .”

Cash seized during the NCA investigation into Maher

Maher then discusses how to set up a front company in Spain which they can use to move drugs. The messages reveal the men planned to set up a legitimate haulage firm to import legal items into UK and Ireland. But this activity would then be used to smuggle cocaine, cash and firearms.

[REDACTED] : “Mate I need to get back onto [REDACTED] see if he a run for me.. I ask him a few weeks ago an said wasn’t a lot happening..”

Satirical: “Have u a driver and all pal lined up ?/”

[REDACTED] : “I was talking to that lad you put onto me yday.. I get back onto nie an see now.. I’ve freed up here now soon”

Satirical: “Yeah good enough m8 why not [REDACTED] will say its quiet because it is bit once u get moving it be grand .”

[REDACTED] : “What way do think I word it.. I left it with if anything pops up gis a shout but he never did.”

Satirical: “Just text and say u have a man ready to start is there a load from UK out.”

[REDACTED] : “OK I’ll say that..”

Satirical: “Let me know what he says bk”

[REDACTED] : “Said same mate he no loads out the UK and has 5wagons he is trying to get for as it is.. He hopes it pick up soon”

Satirical: “The hole thing is quiet m8 I was talking to the fella the other day in London I done work with he said normally 20 loads a day he’s down to 4 now with this s*** . if u wanted ya could try him m8 just does Holland Belgium to here”

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Satirical: “Money isn’t as good as [REDACTED] but get ya moving m8.”

[REDACTED] : “Mate u no me I’m just mad to get them working an get accounts in order but I’ve I’ve to wait I do it is what it is..”

[REDACTED] : “Defo just be nice mate”

[REDACTED] : “I’d like to have them on the road. If they Obill come in the door i am working an in the tp game.. I think I have heat back on after this an if not sweet but that how I’ve to look at it for a bit.”

Satirical: “U will do OK m8 is ur man going to start with u soon or when is he ready to start.”

Maher came to the attention of the NCA after police discovered the bodies of 39 dead Vietnamese migrants who had asphyxiated in the back of a lorry registered in his name. Although police were unable to charge Maher in relation to the deaths, the NCA then became interested in his affairs.

Maher’s role in the global drug trade became clear when police in Europe managed to penetrate the Encrochat network that he relied on to communicate with associates.

On June 13 last year Maher, then 40, was arrested at his Warrington home during a raid by the NCA.

He later pleaded guilty to two charges relating to importing Class A drugs into the UK and two charges of money laundering.

Maher, originally from Ireland, was jailed for 14 years during a hearing last December for drug and money laundering offences.

After Maher was sentenced in December last year senior officers at the NCA spoke about the role he played as a “logistics man” who helped “notorious” crime groups.

NCA branch commander Martin Clarke said: “Maher moved in the highest criminal circles, acting as a logistics man for some of the UK, Ireland and Europe’s most notorious organised crime groups who trusted him with their drugs and money.

“We believe the offences he has been convicted of represent just the tip of the iceberg in terms of his overall criminality. He bragged in EncroChat messages about being involved in organised crime for over 20 years, during which time it’s highly likely he shipped tonnes of drugs and tens of millions of pounds around Europe.

“After a painstaking investigation, we have been able to bring him to justice. And that investigation has not stopped. We will use all the tools available to hit him where it hurts – in the pocket – to ensure he can’t continue his luxury lifestyle when he’s released.”

References

  1. ^ Warrington (www.liverpoolecho.co.uk)
  2. ^ successful business. (www.liverpoolecho.co.uk)
  3. ^ reports the Liverpool Echo. (www.liverpoolecho.co.uk)
  4. ^ EncroChat phone network (www.liverpoolecho.co.uk)
  5. ^ National Crime Agency (www.liverpoolecho.co.uk)
  6. ^ click on this link to our newsletter sign-up centre (www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk)
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