pleading poverty | 

Drug dealer identified by massive Conor McGregor mural in his home ‘can’t afford lawyer’

Ryan Palin (37) was found guilty of a major trafficking conspiracy to supply 700kg of cocaine, 15kg of heroin and 40kg of amphetamines

Ryan Palin

The McGregor mural found at his home

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

A major British drug dealer who was jailed for 29 years after he was identified by a massive mural of Conor McGregor at his home near Liverpool has pleaded poverty as he cannot afford a lawyer.

Ryan Palin (37) was found guilty of a major trafficking conspiracy to supply 700kg of cocaine, 15kg of heroin and 40kg of amphetamines at Liverpool Crown Court in June last year after a trial.

A jury was convinced he was the user of the EncroChat handle '', which detectives had identified after the encrypted phone network was hacked by French and Dutch police.

Palin was identified as the man behind '' by the Conor McGregor mural, painted at his home address in Mereworth, Caldy, after detectives found pictures of it on his EncroChat device. Despite the seemingly overwhelming evidence, Palin still argued he was not the man behind the handle.

However, his argument fell on deaf ears and he was jailed for 29 years at the conclusion of his trial.

Now, the fallen kingpin has told a court he has no money to fund legal representation.

A hearing was held this week to check on the progress of proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) to seize any assets funded by his criminal lifestyle.

The McGregor mural found at his home

During his trial, the court had heard his home was raided on Thursday, December 9 2021, where officers found designer clothing worth £136,000 and watches worth £129,000. Pictures released by Merseyside Police showed Rolex watches, Balenciaga clothes and Chanel handbags which had been seized.

Palin appeared via video-link from prison on Tuesday when he told the court he was not legally represented. He told the Recorder of Liverpool, Judge Andrew Menary, KC, that he had not been aware of the hearing until prison officers took him from his cell.

"My family is in the process now of speaking to a new legal team,” he is quoted as saying in the Liverpool Echo.

He said his previous lawyers stopped representing him after the trial and he had been unaware of the POCA case.

Asked by Judge Menary why he was no longer represented. He replied: "I have got no money to fund it myself."

Judge Menary agreed to set a new timetable and allow Palin to seek new lawyers with a further hearing set for June 26.

Major drug dealer busted by mural depicting UFC star Conor McGregor

Examination of data from encrypted phones revealed that, using the handle, Palin was involved in a conspiracy to supply the drugs between 1 July 2019 and 12 May 2020.

An image on the encrypted phone showed a distinctive mural of the Ultimate Fighting Champion star Connor McGregor.

This proved key to linking the encrypted phone to Palin, as officers were able to identify that the wall the mural was painted on was a wall at the home address of Palin.

Despite this damning evidence, Palin still thought he had a fighting chance of walking free and denied the charges put to him, but was found guilty by a jury.

Speaking after the sentencing hearing, Merseyside Police said Palin’s arrest formed part of an operation involving European law enforcement agencies working with the National Crime Agency (NCA), and supported across the UK by police forces and Regional Organised Crime Units.

Detective Sergeant Graeme Kehoe said at the time: “We welcome the verdict and sentence and now that Ryan Palin is behind bars and can no longer peddle huge amounts of drugs and misery on the streets of Merseyside and beyond.

"Despite the overwhelming evidence against him, Palin chose to go to trial. Fortunately the jury saw through his lies and Palin can now consider the consequences of his actions while he serves a significant time in jail.

"Palin’s substantial sentence should serve as a stark warning to anyone involved in this criminality that there are serious consequences. We simply won’t let people live off the profits of criminality while our law-abiding communities work hard to make an honest living - we will find you and bring you to justice.

"Merseyside Police, along with law enforcement agencies across the world, will leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of those people who think they are above the law, and we will continue to target anyone involved in serious organised crime to keep this positive momentum going.

"We rely on our local communities to be our eyes and ears as part of these investigations and I would continue to urge people to come forward if they have information which could assist us."

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