This Drug Dealer Got Caught Because He Photographed Some Cheese

This Drug Dealer Got Caught Because He Photographed Some Cheese

A notorious drug dealer in the U.K. has just been sentenced to 13 years in jail after he shared a photo of a block of Mature Blue Stilton online.

Carl Stewart, 39, of Liverpool, had been wanted by Merseyside Police for conspiracy to supply cocaine, MDMA, heroin, and ketamine, having used an encrypted chat service to communicate with his customers. Using the name “Toffeeforce,” Stewart used EncroChat, a communications network preferred by criminals that was closed last year after it was infiltrated by police.

Stewart’s conviction came after he took a photograph of himself holding a piece of cheese in Marks and Spencers and shared it via the EncroChat network. After matching the image of his palm and fingerprints, officers were able to use the image to prove that Toffeeforce was Stewart, leading to a prison sentence of 13 years and 6 months for supplying large quantities of class A and B drugs.

It’s not clear why Stewart chose to share the photo of a block of mature blue stilton from Marks and Spencer, though it’s possible that he really likes cheese. For police, the feta-accompli was too Gouda be true and Stewart — who doesn't give Edam — is now Brie-hind bars.

Andy Day's picture

Andy Day is a British photographer and writer living in France. He began photographing parkour in 2003 and has been doing weird things in the city and elsewhere ever since. He's addicted to climbing and owns a fairly useless dog. He has an MA in Sociology & Photography which often makes him ponder what all of this really means.

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You won the pun award for today. 😅


They caught him because the photo had enough fine detail to show his fingerprints well enough to make a positive ID that would hold up in court? Yikes! I guess that is a very strong case against more megapixels.

I would've thought that one would significantly downsize the resolution of any image before posting it to Twitter or any other social media. In this case, doing so would have saved this man his freedom.

It's actually very different.
The chat he was using is EncroChat which is almost only used by criminals.

"EncroChat was a Europe-based communications network and service provider used by organized crime members to plan criminal activities"

It was actually infiltrated by police and they where looking for cues of chat owners, so was highly under scrutiny.

You can read more here

Yes, I know, as I have read extensively about that. But that doesn't change the fact that high resolution gave the authorities the detail they needed to make a positive fingerprint/palmprint ID. So no, it isn't very different when you look at it that way.

My understanding is that a high resolution photo is resized within the server before getting shared. And the police was able to get the original picture from the server directly, not from a shared post.

He made a terrible Blue. Not as precise as Swiss. Mozzarella to do?

Muensters like that all need to be sent to the cooler. Not sure if they should be put on ice for a lifetime though. ;-)