Here’s another fun one from the intersection of food, tech… and crime! A British drug dealer was busted this spring after snapping a picture of his favourite cheese, blue Stilton. The erstwhile kingpin took the photo of the wedge of Marks & Spencer branded cheese in the palm of his hand and shared it – inadvertently revealing his fingerprints to law enforcement. And those intrepid coppers were lying in wait.
“Like many other criminals, Liverpool resident Carl Stewart used the encrypted communications platform EncroChat to supply underworld networks with large shipments of narcotics. Under the handle ‘Toffeeforce,’ Stewart pedaled heroin, cocaine, MDMA, and ketamine—apparently bringing in large profits. […]
Stewart’s arrest is part of a massive, ongoing law enforcement operation targeting the users of EncroChat. The platform, now defunct, previously gave cover to thousands of alleged criminals, who thought they could use the app to secure messaging about their illicit operations. However, law enforcement agencies managed to crack into the platform—beginning at least last summer.”
Stewart shared the pic of his perfectly legitimate snack on his EncroChat-enabled phone, connecting the dots for police to I.D. him. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply the drugs in question and transferring criminal property, and was handed a sentence of 13-and-a-half years in prison.
If only Stewart had stuck to cheese – posited several years ago to have the same effect on the human brain as hard drugs – rather than the hard drugs themselves! Or, at the very least, kept his grocery store glamour shots safely siloed on a burner phone. Jokes aside, this is yet another lesson that crime doesn’t pay – and it especially doesn’t pay for fancy artisanal cheeses.