A party boy drug dealer who snorted his profits away was caught red-handed with carrier bags full of cocaine and cash.
Liam Hughes enjoyed up to six holidays a year, jetting off to see top DJs at events in Ibiza and Croatia, thanks to his ill-gotten gains.
The 24-year-old even roped in his own dad to act as his private “chauffeur” and a drug courier, because he himself couldn’t drive, Liverpool Echo reports.
Using an encrypted EncroChat phone with the handle “BleakMoth”, he raked in up to £8,000 a month when business was good.
But in exchange, he allowed his home to be used as a “safehouse” for vast amounts of Class A drugs and nearly £100,000 a week.
Photos released by Merseyside Police show how Hughes’ lavish lifestyle came crashing down and both he and his dad ended up behind bars.
Hughes was in a gang who moved such “eye-watering” amounts of drugs, they kept track on Microsoft Excel spreadsheets rather than paper tick lists.
The Liverpool-based crew shifted 170kg of cocaine, 11kg of heroin and 290kg of cannabis – worth more than £8m in total – in a little over two months.
Prosecutors said their operation had international links to Morocco, Spain and Dubai, and connections across the UK to London and Cardiff.
Liverpool Crown Court heard the gang was allegedly led by a man named Callum Hogg, aka EncroChat user “SpeedyHerder”, who remains at large.
Hogg’s cousin, the former boxing champion Ryan Mulcahy, 29, aka “BassBelt”, was given responsibility for the cannabis arm of the conspiracy.
Anthony Connolly, 30, aka “OrdinaryDingo”, was the courier and “accountant”, who kept track of finances and stock on spreadsheets on his MacBook Pro.
Stephen McNally, prosecuting, said Hughes’ home in Fazakerley, was used to store large quantities of cash and drugs, where he was “hands on” in weighing and “bashing” – cutting with adulterants – for onward supply.
Hughes – who used his daughter’s name as the password for his BleakMoth account – recruited his 46-year-old dad, Brian Marshall, as a “driver and a chauffeur”.
The group used six “slot” cars, fitted with bespoke “hides” designed to conceal drugs and money.
Dad-of-four Marshall, of Robson Street, Everton, also worked as a “courier” for the gang and made 10 identified trips in these “slot” cars to Cardiff and London.
Mr McNally said the hide in a gold Renault Scenic, registered to Marshall and driven by another courier, Jack Pritchard, to Wales on June 1, had the capacity to hold approximately 15kg of drugs, or £150,000 in cash.
He said the secret adaptation to the Scenic was fitted with such skill, that the car was searched three times before the hidden ‘slot’ was actually identified.
Hughes later admitted that up to £100,000 a week passed through his hands at his home in Karonga Way.
The case covered plots from January to September 2020, but the extent of EncroChat data recovered when the secret phone network was hacked was so big that investigators decided to focus on May 10 to June 13.
Spreadsheets showed that in May 2020 alone, the group supplied 64kg of cocaine to customers for £2.2m, received some £925,000, and banked £745,000.
When police raided his home on September 10 last year, Hughes was arrested after running out of the back door carrying two blue carrier bags filled with cash and drugs.
Hughes admitted conspiring to supply cocaine, heroin and cannabis, and to convert criminal property, and possessing cannabis.
Julian Nutter, defending, said Hughes was remorseful and ashamed for “what he’s brought to the door of his child and his partner”.
He said Hughes spent around 75 per cent of his income from selling drugs to feed his own habit, which had made him “vulnerable”, and he had to pay for his cocaine.
He was jailed for 14 and a half years.
Marshall, who also made 10 trips to Cardiff and London, ferrying drugs for the gang, admitted conspiring to supply cocaine.
The “trusted and frequent courier” who was described as a ‘devoted family man’ was jailed for 10 years.
Connolly, formerly of Ellerman Road, Liverpool city centre, now of Station Road, Melling, admitted conspiring to supply cocaine and cannabis, and to convert criminal property. The “bookkeeper” was jailed for 14 and a half years.
Mulcahy, of Maregreen Road, Kirkdale, admitted conspiring to supply cannabis and to convert criminal property. He was jailed for six and a half years.
Pritchard, 29, of Mavis Drive, Coppull, Lancashire, admitted conspiring to supply cocaine. He was jailed for 10 years.