TWO brothers jailed for buying and sell cocaine on a "commercial scale" have been jailed were involved in storing guns in Haydock 13 years ago.

As reported this week, Peter Moogan, 39, and Michael Moogan, 33, were leading figures in a large-scale drugs conspiracy in Merseyside.

They have each been sentenced to 11 years and three months in prison.

The 2009 gun case

It is not the first lengthy jail termBack in 2009 the Star reported how the Moogan brothers went on the run to Spain after police made one of the biggest gun seizures St Helens has ever seen.

After the brothers featured on Crimewatch’s Most Wanted list, they were brought to justice and locked up for keeping a stash of guns at Avery Square, Haydock in September, 2007.

Their faces were shown on the BBC programme as police hunted for them in connection with a major firearms inquiry that saw gun dealer Mark Watts – who police reckon supplied guns to Liverpool gangs like the Croxteth Crew - brought to justice.

When police raided the house following a three-day surveillance operation they found a vast haul of weapons - including semi-automatic pistols, revolvers, silencers and ammunition stored inside plastic food boxes.

It is believed the sinister haul had been imported from the Czech Republic.

Fingerprints and DNA from the brothers were found on the plastic – and the hunt for the duo mounted.


A year on from the guns raid tip-offs generated by Crimewatch led detectives to Spain – and the Moogans were brought back to the UK and faced court in St Helens.

They were given eight-year jail terms after appearing at Liverpool Crown Court where they admitted conspiracy to possess section 5 firearms and section 1 ammunition.

Judge David Boulton said at the time that the police’s decision to target the gun stash prevented there being more dead youngsters in the region.

Detective suspected the brothers had been living at the Avery Square address, which Watts rented, prior to the raids.

Watts was put away for 15 years after being found guilty of conspiracy to purchase, acquire, sell or transfer prohibited weapons.

The successful operation also paved the way for the police to foil a gun deal at Cavan Drive, Haydock, in November 2007.

This resulted in Haydock men Phillip Worsley and Lee Travis being jailed for six years.

Cocaine deals

Now, 13 years on, the Moogan brothers' involvement with serious crime has surfaced again.

They were using a so-called “Encrochat” phone with the handle “paleflame” to both buy and sell large quantities of drugs.

In June 2020, international police forces managed to access the stored messages from the encrypted platform.

St Helens Star:

The Moogan brothers have been jailed again

A host of prosecutions have followed throughout Europe, including Britain.

Encrochat users don’t use their real names, but false names, known as “handles”. The police have managed to establish the true identity of the users by analysing their individual messages and personal information.

The police traced the "Paleflame" Encrochat phone to the Moogan brothers, both of who were living at addresses in Huyton, because they had shared their postcodes and identifiable photographs of family members, vehicles and property.

The CPS say that unusually, in this case, the brothers were using the same phone to deal in drugs.

Police tracked their messages between February and June 2020.

They predominantly dealt in cocaine and bought and sold thousands of pounds of the Class A drug.

They had a "well-established network" of criminal associates which they used to both buy and supply drugs.

They were arrested on July 8, 2021, made no comment in questioning but eventually pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis on October 2021 11 at Liverpool Crown Court.

They were each sentenced today to 11 years and three months in prison.

After the brothers were arrested, the police conducted a number of searches.

They found £26,710 in cash in a pillow at Michael Moogan’s home in Huyton.

A further £61,270 in cash was found in an industrial unit on Wilson Business Park in Huyton.

District Crown Prosecutor Jonathan  Egan, of CPS Mersey Cheshire, said: “Both Peter and Michael Moogan were buying and selling cocaine on a commercial scale for significant financial advantage.

“During the span of this investigation – three months – they dealt in around 8 kilos of cocaine, that would be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

“The evidence showed that they were using the same Encrochat phone to operate the conspiracy and both had a lead role.

“Organised criminals think they can cheat the authorities and get away with their dangerous and destructive trade. Encrochat phones were the latest weapon in their armoury until the police cracked the platform.

“Many complex prosecutions have resulted from that and the police and the Crown Prosecution Service are making substantial progress in closing off another element of this evil trade.”

If you have information about drug dealing in your area, DM @MerPolCC or ring 101 or @CrimestoppersUK anonymously on 0800 555 111.