Police hunt for properties linked to drug-dealing ex-England player Faye Dunn
Prosecutors are looking to seize properties in the UK and overseas linked to a successful businesswoman who played a ‘leading role’ in an international drugs ring.
Former professional footballer Faye Dunn was detained at Manchester Airport after police discovered the million pound cannabis smuggling operation. The mother-of-two became involved in the underworld when her business ventures began to falter due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, a court later heard.
The 38-year-old former footballer was convicted alongside her father, 66-year-old Michael Dunn, thanks to the infiltration of the EncroChat network. Detectives working on Operation Venetic, the UK’s response to the hack, subsequently identified Faye Dunn had been using the handle ‘StiffNinja’ and was in close contact with a user called ‘LedZeppelin’.
She cried in the dock after he was jailed for three years and nine months at Liverpool Crown Court in September 2022.
Meanwhile, her convicted drug smuggler father went under the name ‘ZincBat’. Faye Dunn was found to have been in close contact with a user known as LedZeppelin with messages revealing she had ‘involvement in the supply and production of cannabis’.
Former England Under-19 international Faye Dunn, pictured, was jailed for three years and nine months last year at Liverpool Crown Court for her role in a multi-million pound cannabis smuggling operation
Her father, Michael, pictured left, received a two-year suspended sentence after he also pleaded guilty to his role in the smuggling operation. A judge said he was suspending the sentence as a ‘measure of mercy’
Yesterday there was a brief hearing at Liverpool Crown Court relating to efforts to seize the illicit profits made by the pair under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).
Nicola Daley, prosecuting, said that the CPS and lawyers for Michael Dunn had come to an agreement that he had no recoverable assets to his name despite profiting to the tune of £50,000 during the course of the conspiracy.
During his sentencing hearing in June last year, the court had been told the pensioner was suffering considerable health problems and had been in a ‘desperate place financially’ at the time of his offending.
Yesterday Ms Daley asked the court to order payment of a nominal sum of £1 and to treat it as paid. However she revealed the situation was different in relation to Faye Dunn. She told the court: ‘There are more by way of discussions likely between the parties.’
Matthew Buckland, representing both Dunns for the hearing, asked the judge, Recorder Eric Lamb, KC, for more time to resolve the case. He said: ‘There are a number of properties involved in this case, many of them overseas, some of them cash, that needs to be resolved.’
Judge Lamb agreed and set a further hearing date for March 10.
Back in June 2022, the mother-of-two was described as an ‘accountant for an organised criminal enterprise’, while she had smuggled ill-gotten cash abroad.
Police are currently searching for any illicit properties Dunn may have purchased using the profits made by smuggling drugs
Police who cracked the encrypted EncroChat network discovered messages between the father and daughter, pictured, which showed their links to the drugs trade
Ms Daley said at the time: ‘She played an operational role within the drugs supply chain but appeared to have significant influence upon others in the chain, facilitating meetings between criminal associates in relation to the supply of controlled drugs, and also instructed others to undertake tasks such as the collection and movement of packages of both drugs and cash.
‘Significantly, she appears to have acted as the accountant for the organised criminal enterprise and has concealed not only her EncroChat device but also cash when travelling abroad in order to evade detection by the authorities.’
The court heard on April 2, 2020, Dunn sent a ‘tick-list’ to her then partner, Stephen Canty, showing an income of £1,155,548, and details of expenditure worth £431,700. Ms Daley said that the list included £100,000 spent on a house, £25,000 on cars and £21,500 on a watch.
Michael Dunn meanwhile handled and supplied drugs on his daughter’s behalf and arranged meetings to transfer cash. Ms Daley added: ‘It is the prosecution’s case that Michael Dunn willingly carried out the handling, movement and supply of cannabis for his daughter Faye.
‘He also met up with other handles and arranged meetings in order to transfer money.’
In total, Faye Dunn is estimated to have been involved in the supply of at least 24kg of cannabis and was said to have ‘played a leading role within the criminal organisation’. She also laundered £654,800 of dirty money from December 2019 onwards.
Meanwhile, Michael Dunn was described as having a ‘significant’ role. He was directly involved in the supply of 5kg of drugs in just over five weeks before ceasing his involvement.
Michael Dunn was held on July 11 and also gave no comment.
Both defendants, of Walpole Avenue in Whiston, admitted conspiracy to supply cannabis and money laundering.
The mother-of-two became involved in a million-pound cannabis trafficking operation when her business ventures began to falter due to the impact of the pandemic
Dunn cried in the dock as she was jailed for three years and nine months. She began wailing as she was taken down the cells and said: ‘I can’t believe it.’
Judge David Potter, sentencing, said of Faye Dunn: ‘I accept that you are a woman of effectively good character – a highly intelligent, successful, motivated sportswoman, entrepreneur and mother of high-achieving children.
‘You came to this trade as a result of the failure of your businesses due to the coronavirus pandemic. You took your considerable management skills into the trade of drugs.
Dunn’s footballing career
At 18, helped her England team qualify for the semi-finals of the UEFA European Women’s U19 Championship.
She netted goals during two of the Lionesses’ group games during the tournament, against Denmark and Switzerland.
The ‘box-to-box midfielder’ turned out for Tranmere Rovers before joining Leeds United in 2003.
One documented appearance for the former came after she bagged a hattrick against Southampton in November 2000, although Dunn was sent off while facing Doncaster Belles in March 2002.
She was later interviewed by Leeds ahead of a game with her former side. She said of the upcoming clash: ‘I enjoyed my time at Tranmere and always look out for their results, but I am a Leeds player now and we will all be going out determined to try to get three points for Leeds United Ladies.’
‘It is a tragedy to see a young woman facing a sentence of imprisonment after leading a life full of past and continuing achievements. You should have been thinking about your two young children when you became involved in serious organised crime.’
The court heard Michael Dunn was jailed in the Netherlands in 1986 in connection with burglaries and was later deported. He was then jailed for nine years in Portugal in 2009 for drug importation charges. This came after he was stopped in a van while transporting 2.5kg of cannabis into Spain.
William England, representing him during sentencing, told the court that his client was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and also suffers from cardiovascular and mobility issues. Mr England added: ‘He is no longer a young man, in fact quite the opposite.’
Judge Potter handed Michael Dunn two years in prison, suspended for two years, ‘as a measure of mercy’.
Commenting at the time of the trial Senior Crown Prosecutor of the CPS Mersey Cheshire’s Complex Casework Unit said: ‘Faye Dunn was a high achieving and successful businesswoman. Now she is a convicted criminal.
‘She was able to take her managerial skills into the drugs trade to assist others for their and her own personal gain, and is now behind bars. She played an operational role in the conspiracy that included directing her father Michael. He returned to his previous criminal life to help her, despite his reported ill health and age.
‘Many young and vulnerable people are exploited in the cannabis trade. Faye and Michael Dunn entered into this trade hoping to make a lot for money. They have only themselves to blame for the result of today’s hearing.’