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Builder’s secret double life as ‘Britain’s El Chapo’ exposed – with Lamborghinis, cocaine binges and a £22,000 BED

A FORMER builder’s secret double life as “Britain’s El Chapo” has been exposed – with Lamborghinis, cocaine binges and a £22,000 BED.

Jonathan Cassidy – who was jailed yesterday for 21 years and nine months after admitting to his part in a class A drugs operation – compared himself to the infamous Mexican cartel leader.

PAJonathan Cassidy was jailed for 21 years and nine months[/caption]

PAJonathan Cassidy with business partner Nasar Ahmed (left)[/caption]

PAThe home bar at Jonathan Cassidy’s home[/caption]

The 50-year-old, from Crosby, Merseyside, was joined in the multi-million pound scheme by his ex-Liverpool FC prodigy brother Jamie Cassidy, 46 – also locked up.

Business partner, Nasar Ahmed, 51, was also jailed.

The day before he was arrested for his part in the industrial-scale importation of cocaine, Jonathan Cassidy went online to buy a £22,000 bed.

But, as one member of Greater Manchester Police‘s organised crime unit said: “He’ll never sleep in it”.

Jonathan Cassidy was in Paris on his way back to the UK from Dubai, and the bed was to have furnished a bedroom in his villa in the UAE.

PAJamie Cassidy, 46, was jailed for 13 years and three months[/caption]

PAAhmed was jailed for 21 years 9 months[/caption]

He had fled there when the encrypted EncroChat network – a WhatsApp for criminals – he used was cracked by French intelligence services in summer 2020.

Investigators are unsure why he returned to the UK later that year.

When he arrived at Manchester Airport on October 17 2020, he was detained.

Jonathan Cassidy had been leading a lavish lifestyle.

A video shows him filming himself driving around Dubai in a Lamborghini, with a Louis Vuitton bag next to him stuffed with cash.

A £250,000 Richard Mille watch is on his wrist.

Brother Jamie, from Knowsley, Merseyside – who worked under him – had been in the same youth team as Michael Owen and Jamie Carragher.

Liverpool prodigy Jamie Cassidy

Former Liverpool prodigy Jamie Cassidy once played alongside stars Jamie Carragher and Michael Owen.

He helped the reds win the FA Youth Cup in 1996, beating a West Ham United team featuring Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand.

Cassidy was signed by Liverpool FC as a schoolboy and flourished within the club’s youth set up.

During his teenager years he became one of the top goal scorers in the country and was hand picked along with Carragher to attend the FA’s centre of excellence at Lilleshaw.

He later left Liverpool for Cambridge United and drifted into non-league football.

In his 2008 autobiography, Carragher said Cassidy would have been a “certain Liverpool regular” but for the injuries that ended his career in top flight football.

Without football to fall back on, Cassidy spiralled into a life of crime alongside his old brother Jonathan Cassidy, 50.

The siblings had both invested their drugs money on property.

After first arriving in the UAE, Jonathan Cassidy had told property agents to find him a villa on a £2.5million budget.

Ahmed, of Bury, Greater Manchester, had previously been jailed for two years in 2001 for possession of a firearm and assisting an offender.

It followed a nightclub shooting the previous year – with shooter Wayne McDonald jailed for life in 2010 after years on the run.

Joshua Avis – a fourth alleged member of the Cassidy gang – remains at large, after being the only one of the four to get bail.

GMP’s taking down of EnchroChat and with it fellow drug kingpin Leon Atkinson – an associate of spree killer Dale Cregan – eventually led them to the Cassidys.

Atkinson had been buying class A drugs from Ahmed, who police then found to be the financial arm of an importation business working alongside Jonathan Cassidy.

Ahmed arranged the transfer of money via Bitcoin or unregistered bankers to Amsterdam or elsewhere before drugs were released and the older Cassidy shipped them into the UK.

Jamie Cassidy acted as his logistics manager, responsible for distribution.

The cocaine, sourced from Columbia and other South American countries, was brought from Amsterdam in lorries with hidden compartments and distributed to the likes of Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester, and Glasgow.

The Manchester Evening News reports Detective Chief Inspector, Roger Smethurst, said: “Interestingly when EncroChat broke Jonathan Cassidy went to Dubai and was over there for a period of time and then, whether it was because there were never any visits to his home address or there were never inquiries made about him, he came back to the UK, and was arrested.

“He was not known to us or particularly to Merseyside Police – he was just a builder.

“He has obviously gone abroad because he is worried and then he thinks the heat is off has come back.”

Under the leadership of Jonathan Cassidy and Ahmed, it is believed the gang imported close to £26million worth of cocaine into the UK.

Jonathan Cassidy’s Encrochat user name was “Whiskey-Wasp”; Ahmed “Dottedjaw”; Jamie Cassidy, and “Nucleardog”.

Whilst watching an episode of Narcos, Jonathan Cassidy sent an image to a friend joking that he and the drug lord shared the same birthday.

His friend responded, “coincidence I think f***ing not”.

A trial was set for February 9, but the defendants pleaded guilty before it could start despite spending months challenging the legality of the evidence.

Jonathan Cassidy pleaded guilty to conspiracy to evade the fraudulent prohibition on importation of class A drugs, conspiracy to supply class A drugs and conspiracy to launder money.

Ahmed admitted the same offences as Jonathan Cassidy.

Jamie Cassidy admitted conspiracy to supply class A drugs and conspiracy to launder money.

Jonathan Cassidy, was jailed for 21 years nine months; Jamie Cassidy for 13 years three months, and Ahmed for 21 years 9 months.

Avis, of Liverpool, who has gone on the run, had pleaded not guilty at an earlier hearing to conspiracy to fraudulently evade prohibition on Importation of Class A drugs x 2 and conspiracy to conceal/ convert / disguise criminal property.



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