In a remarkable case of criminal arrogance, Craig McKenzie, known as the ‘Teflon’ drugs boss, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. McKenzie, based in Manchester, operated a global criminal network worth nearly £6m, utilizing shady businesses to conceal his illicit activities. The National Crime Agency described McKenzie as “untouchable” and revealed that he named one of his cover businesses Teflon Holdings, believing that none of his crimes would ever catch up to him.
McKenzie’s extravagant lifestyle, which he claimed was funded by his property business, caught the attention of investigators. Despite declaring an income of only £33,000 this year, he was seen wearing a Richard Mille watch worth approximately £250,000 and driving both a BMW X5 and a VW Tiguan R-Line. When authorities raided his residence, they discovered designer goods and clothing valued at £128,000, as well as £33,000 in cash.
McKenzie’s criminal operation employed runners to distribute drugs, including heroin, cocaine, and cannabis, to customers as far away as Wales and London. Investigators also uncovered evidence that he funneled money from his illicit sales to notorious offenders in Spain and the United Arab Emirates through money laundering channels.
The arrest of McKenzie in February 2022 was the result of Operation Venetic, a nationwide investigation into organized crime that ensued after the dismantling of EncroChat, a global encrypted messaging service utilized by criminal gangs. During the investigation, authorities analyzed over 11,000 messages exchanged between McKenzie and his co-conspirators from March to June 2020. These messages revealed McKenzie’s close ties to wanted international criminals and his involvement in multiple criminal conspiracies in the UK and abroad.
At his trial, McKenzie was found guilty of conspiring to supply significant quantities of cocaine, heroin, and cannabis, with an estimated street value of almost £6m. He was also charged with laundering approximately £400,000 during a three-month period in 2020. The National Crime Agency has initiated Proceeds of Crime proceedings against McKenzie, with assets worth £1.5m already restrained pending a hearing scheduled for 15 March 2024.