ENCROCHAT: Friendly car garage boss charged over cocaine conspiracy and keeping gun on premises


EXCLUSIVE: A CAR garage boss has been charged with conspiracy to supply drugs and keeping a firearm and ammunition at his business premises following the Encrochat hack.

Robert Wiggins, 42, boss of Wiggins Autos in Notting Hill, London, (pictured above) is alleged to have conspired between March 23 and July 1 this year with Craig Rouse, 39, to supply a quantity of cocaine.

He is also charged with being illegally in possession at Wiggins Autos on July 1 of a Heckler and Koch USP 9mm gun and more than 30 rounds of ammunition.

Wiggins, from Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court this month and the case was adjourned to Southwark Crown Court at a later date.

Rouse, from Brook Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, has separately been charged with conspiracy to supply an amount of cocaine, and had his case adjourned.

In a YouTube video Wiggins proudly introduces his firm as a specialist in German cars and BMWs.

The business boasts good online reviews with customers saying it delivers a "friendly and reliable service."

The arrests were part of Operation Venetic, which saw hundreds of people arrested across the UK after an encrypted phone messaging system, suspected of being used by thousands of organised criminals, was cracked by law enforcement investigators.

Wiggins and Rouse were among at least 746 people arrested by police forces up and down the country, in what has been described as the UK's biggest ever operation against organised crime, after French and Dutch police hacked the Encrochat phone messaging service.

The UK-wide Operation Venetic began in April after the encrypted phone system was busted.

Around 60,000 suspected criminals were found to be using the specialist Encrochat system worldwide, with 10,000 said to be based in the UK.

European investigators allowed the National Crime Agency (NCA) and British police forces to monitor the exchange of messages in real time, allowing for large numbers of seizures of drugs and firearms arriving into the country and arrests of suspects.