Code-cracking French police help bring down Leeds drug dealer buying ketamine and cocaine in bulk

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A Leeds dealer who bought and sold kilogrammes of drugs was caught after French police cracked a complicated communication network used by criminals.

James Frazier sent thousands of messages over Encrochat to buy ketamine and cocaine in bulk, thinking it was safe.

But the secret phone app was eventually decoded by officers on the continent in 2020, and the National Crime Agency in the UK were then able to tap into Frazier’s conversations. They could see that he regularly enquired about buying the Class B and Class A drugs and sold large quantities to other dealers across the country.

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Officers raided his home on Grosvenor Road, Headingley on June 25, 2020, and found 1.3kg of ketamine worth £25,000 and £30,404 in cash. They retrieved digital scales and two iPhones containing messages related to dealing in bulk.

James Frazier dealt in thousands of pounds worth of drugs.James Frazier dealt in thousands of pounds worth of drugs.
James Frazier dealt in thousands of pounds worth of drugs.

Prosecutor Robert Galley told Leeds Crown Court that his bank account showed “limited income” of just £5,000 for 2014/15 and references to him being a gym trainer. There were large deposits totalling £37,000 that Frazier could not explain.

Messages found on the phones included discussions about buying and selling cocaine, but more frequently, discussed bulk buying ketamine, and selling to other dealers in Bristol involving tens of thousands of pounds.

The 31-year-old, of Whingate, Armley, LS12, Leeds, has previous convictions for possession of Class A and B drugs, and being over the drug-drive limit.

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He admitted conspiracy to supply Class A and Class B drugs and possession of criminal property.

Mitigating on his behalf, Daniel Harman said Frazier had become badly addicted to ketamine during lockdown. He added: “He came to court today and said 'I've never been happier in a long time' and says it can bring closure to this episode.

"He was an extremely heavy user of ketamine, he found himself down the rabbit hole so deep. He knows what the result will be today. He is a well-educated young man and in a short period of time he managed to get extremely involved in high-end criminal activities. There is genuine remorse.”

Judge Rodney Jameson KC jailed him for seven years and four months describing it as a “pretty sophisticated method of drug dealing”.