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Former England footballer turned ‘accountant’ jailed for £1million cannabis smuggling operation

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Faye Dunn, 38, whined ‘I can’t believe it’ when she was sent to jail yesterday

A successful businesswoman and semi-pro football player who turned out to be an accountant for a drug ring moaned “I can’t believe it” when she was sent to jail yesterday.

Faye Dunn, 38, once owned a portfolio of businesses in a variety of industries, including a restaurant and children’s play center.

But now the mother-of-two is facing a nearly four-year prison term.

Dunn, a former England player under 19, became involved in a million-pound cannabis trafficking operation when her business ventures began to falter due to the impact of the pandemic – although there was evidence that her money laundering in started Dec 2019.

Liverpool Crown Court was told her father Michael Dunn, 68, was also involved in the operation in which he handled and delivered drugs on behalf of his child – he was operating ‘below the standard’ of his own daughter.

The court sentenced Michael Dunn to two years in prison “as a measure of mercy”.

They worked with EncroChat – an encrypted communication platform often used by criminals.

Reports revealed she was “involved in the supply and production of cannabis”, was described as an “accountant for an organized criminal enterprise” who had also smuggled cash into Spain – aboard a ferry from Portsmouth to Santander with money hidden in her pants.

On April 2, she sent a user named LedZeppelin an “image of what appeared to be a checklist or accounting record” with a total income of £1,155,548 – plus additional money generated in Spain.

The balance also documented expenses totaling £431,700 – including £100,000 on a house, £25,000 on cars, a watch worth £21,500 and clothing items that add up to £1,360.

The mother of two became involved in a million-pound cannabis trafficking operation as her business ventures began to falter due to the impact of the pandemic

The mother of two became involved in a million-pound cannabis trafficking operation as her business ventures began to falter due to the impact of the pandemic

Her father Michael Dunn (pictured), 68, was also involved in the surgery, handling and providing drugs on behalf of his child

Her father Michael Dunn (pictured), 68, was also involved in the surgery, handling and providing drugs on behalf of his child

Dunn started out as a rising football star 20 years ago as a promising teenager playing for England at youth level.

After hanging up her boots, Dunn – a well-known figure in Huyton, Liverpool – founded the Onside Sports Academy.

Dunn .’s Football Career

At the age of 18, she helped her England team qualify for the semi-finals of the UEFA European Women’s U19 Championship.

She scored goals in two of the Lionesses’ group matches during the tournament, against Denmark and Switzerland.

The ‘box-to-box midfielder’ turned out to be for Tranmere Rovers before joining Leeds United in 2003.

A documented appearance of the former came after she netted a hat-trick against Southampton in November 2000, although Dunn was sent off in March 2002 while facing Doncaster Belles.

She was later interviewed by Leeds prior to a match with her former side. She said of the upcoming clash: “I have enjoyed my time at Tranmere and always look forward to their results, but I am a Leeds player now and we will all be determined to try and get three points for Leeds United Ladies. ‘

The community interest company supported young footballers who were released by clubs as they tried to make it pro, making sure they got paid jobs rather than getting derailed.

This was one of the many board positions she would continue to hold. Companies House makes an inventory of interests in a law firm and a recruitment agency.

Her business empire also expanded into a restaurant and a popular children’s play center. In Spain she was also interested in a supplier of epoxy resin floors.

In early 2020, due to Covid-19, lockdowns and their consequences, Dunn’s businesses began to falter.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that this was the catalyst for Dunn’s involvement with the underworld, although there was evidence of her money laundering as of December 2019.

She operated under the leadership of StiffNinja on the encrypted communication platform EncroChat, which was often used by criminals to keep their transactions secret until the network was hacked by authorities in 2020.

Nicola Daley, prosecutor, said: “She played an operational role within the drug supply chain, but appeared to have a significant influence on others in the chain, facilitating meetings between criminal partners in connection with the supply of controlled drugs, as well as others to take action. tasks such as picking up and moving packages containing both drugs and cash.

“It is remarkable that she appears to have been the accountant of the organized criminal enterprise, hiding not only her EncroChat device, but also cash when she travels abroad to evade detection by authorities.”

Dunn, of Walpole Avenue in Whiston, was arrested on June 13 this year at Manchester Airport as part of Operation Venetic. She remained silent during the interview, but later pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cannabis and money laundering.

'Intelligent, resourceful, kind, loving, generous and sadly flawed' Dunn whimpered and said 'I can't believe it' as she was led to cells after serving three years and nine months in prison

‘Intelligent, resourceful, kind, loving, generous and sadly flawed’ Dunn whimpered and said ‘I can’t believe it’ as she was led to cells after serving three years and nine months in prison

The fallen entrepreneur was in tears at several points during her hearing at Liverpool Crown Court yesterday, Tuesday.

“Intelligent, resourceful, kind, loving, generous and sadly flawed,” Dunn whimpered and said, “I can’t believe it” as she was led to cells after serving three years and nine months in prison.

Sentencing, Judge David Potter said: ‘It is imperative to note to you and others about the harm caused by the cannabis trade. Cannabis can have profound, lasting effects on the brain.

Recent events in this city show how innocent people can get caught up in the spiral of violence of organized crime groups. Quite simply, cannabis addiction destroys lives.

“You have both voluntarily participated in this trade with the sole intention of earning substantial financial reward. I accept that you are a woman of good character – a highly intelligent, successful, motivated sportswoman, entrepreneur and mother of high performing children.

“You ended up in this business due to the bankruptcy of your company due to the coronavirus pandemic. You have used your considerable management skills in the drug trade.

“It is a tragedy to see a young woman end up in prison after a lifetime of past and ongoing achievements. You should have thought of your two young children when you became involved in serious organized crime.’

Father Michael Dunn, 68, was also involved in the surgery, handling and providing drugs on behalf of his child.

Ms Daley added: ‘It is the prosecution’s case that Michael Dunn willingly carried out the handling, transport and supply of cannabis for his daughter Faye.

‘He also met other tools and arranged meetings to transfer money.’

In a message Faye Dunn sent to her father on March 28, 2020, she asked, “Do you think you can move five trees from you to me, mate, or too risky?”

He replied, ‘Not tonight, the roads are too quiet. Can do it tomorrow.’

That same day, she told a user named VigilantSmith, “I’ll bring the trees and collect the dough, but I need to be near Deeside, tell him.” If your mate from Wrexham can get the dough near where I live, I’ll pass him the trees and get the dough.”

Michael Dunn has 23 previous convictions for 39 violations. In 1986 he was jailed in the Netherlands for burglaries and was later deported.

The pensioner was subsequently sentenced to nine years in prison in Portugal in 2009 for drug import duties. This happened after he was arrested in a van while transporting 2.5kg of cannabis to Spain.

His lawyer William England told the court that he is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and also suffers from cardiovascular and mobility problems. Mr England added: ‘He is no longer a young man, in fact quite the contrary.

‘The crimes are now almost three years old. This defendant has accepted his part in this conspiracy.

“He played a facilitating role and clearly received a small compensation for his problems. He was in a desperate financial situation.’

The court sentenced Michael Dunn to two years in prison “as a measure of mercy”.

Judge Potter added: “The court is stunned that you returned to insulting in your late 60s. You operated below your daughter’s level.

“You were willing to travel during the lockdown restrictions to handle the supply of pounds of cannabis on behalf of others. You are not in good health at all.

“Your sentence will be suspended by the smallest margin. I will remember the day I imposed this suspended sentence on you.’

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