TWO south Essex cocaine dealers have been jailed after police broke into their protected messaging systems.

Scott Russo and Jack Tilbury, members of an organised crime gang operating across the county, were arrested in December last year following a joint investigation by the National Crime Agency and Metropolitan Police Service.

Officers used data from Operation Venetic, the UK law enforcement response to Encrochat (an encrypted messaging platform), to uncover their discussions of buying, collecting and selling cocaine.

Scott Russo, 31, of Hockley, used the handle ‘sizeablehunter’ and bought a van with his accomplice Jack Tilbury which contained a hidden compartment to hold up to 30 kilos of cocaine.


Stash - Drugs found at Tilbury's home. Pic: NCA

Messages showed Tilbury, 26, of Rochford, known as Tubbs, was sent to collect eight kilos of cocaine from a lorry parked in a layby in Kent on June 11 of last year.

After this, the pair started to deal cocaine more regularly across Essex and in larger amounts, the NCA said.

Officers arrested Tilbury at his home in The Russetts, Ashingdon, on December 2, 2020.


Bricks - the total haul of drugs. Pic: NCA

Two kilos of cocaine were found underneath a cot in Tilbury’s bedroom, alongside smaller amounts prepared for sale, scales and plastic bags.

Russo went on the run from his of Englefield Close home but was tracked down and arrested at a hotel in Southend on December 10. He was found with more than £2,000 in cash.

On November 19, Russo and Tilbury pleaded guilty to drug offences at Basildon Crown Court.

They were sentenced to 9.5 years and 8.5 years respectively today (November 26).

Andrew Tickner from the Organised Crime Partnership said: “This investigation has resulted in a crime group supplying significant amounts of class A drugs to the streets of Essex has been wiped out.

“If this criminal enterprise had continued, Russo and Tilbury would have been generating vast profits which would have been used to further fund their criminality.

“This is yet another example of the NCA and Met Police working together to protect the public.”