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Ex-Liverpool prodigy faces lengthy jail sentence after admitting to drug plot and money-laundering

Ex-Liverpool prodigy Jamie Cassidy faces a lengthy jail sentence after admitting to his role in a drug plot and money-laundering.

A former member of Liverpool’s renowned youth team, Jamie Cassidy, is facing imprisonment for his involvement in a drug scheme.

The 46-year-old, who was once a highly regarded player and had the opportunity to play alongside Jamie Carragher and Michael Owen and won the FA Youth Cup against West Ham in 1996, was arrested and pleaded guilty to a number of charges, with conspiracy to supply class A drugs and conspiracy to money launder in 2021.

Ex-Liverpool prodigy faces lengthy jail sentence after admitting to drug plot and money-laundering

A police spokesman said to Liverpool ECHO at the time: “Jonathon Cassidy (04/04/1973), Jamie Cassidy (21/11/1977), Nasar Ahmed (18/08/1972), and Joshua Avis (22/04/1985) have all be charged in relation to an investigation which forms part of the UK-wide Operation Venetic, focusing on the take down of the encrypted communications service Encrochat.

“Jonathon Cassidy and Nasar Ahmed have both been charged with conspiracy to import class A drugs (fraudulent evasion of a prohibition by bringing into the UK a controlled drug), conspiracy to supply class A, and conspiracy to money launder.

“Joshua Avis and Jamie Cassidy have been charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs and conspiracy to money launder.”

In his 2008 autobiography, Jamie Carragher said that Jamie Cassidy, who was also invited to play for the England Youth Team, ‘would have been a certain Liverpool regular if he hadn’t suffered so much with injuries’.

In an interview with The Times, Carra said: “I still see Jamie. We were in the same FA Youth Cup-winning team (with Liverpool in 1996) and he played for England Under-18s. He never made it because he broke his leg and then got a really bad cruciate ligament injury. What happened to him just shows how lucky I’ve been.”

Aged 22, Cassidy spoke about the agonising moment which left him on the sidelines for 15 months just as Owen was grabbing headlines and Jeffers was soon-to-be Everton’s very-own rising starlet.

He said, per Liverpool ECHO: “I was doing okay, I was in the squads under Roy and on the bench a few times. I trained with the first team every day and all I needed was a little break and a chance. But when I was looking to go and make the step into the first team I was injured at the start of the season.

“I just got my studs caught in the turf and tore my cruciate. It was my first game after signing a two-year contract.

“I was out for 15 months then and when I eventually came back Houllier said I hadn’t played enough reserve games for him to give me a new contract.

“It was a bad injury and there were times when I thought wouldn’t come back, but Mark Leather, the physio, was great to me.”

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Cassidy moved to Cambridge United, with his young family, wife Lyndsey and son Jamie and spoke about his frustration at seeing his former teammates go on to be a success, he said: “It is a little bit frustrating when you see the players you played with a few years ago doing so well.

“Without being big-headed or anything I think I had a chance myself. But good luck to them. They deserve it. They’re making the most of it. I’m not going to sit back and be jealous. It could have been the other way round. That’s life. You just have to get on with it.”

Unfortunately, Cassidy’s career had been hindered by injuries, and he eventually found himself playing non-league football after a brief spell with Cambridge United.

The closest he came to making a first team appearance for the club was being named as one of the five substitutes for a home Premier League match with Sheffield Wednesday in December, 1996.

Jamie moved to Cambridge United in 1999 when he was 21 years old and a year later for Cambridge City, then subsequently moved back to the North-West to play for Northwich Victoria in the 2000-20001 season and later appeared for Burscough.

Cassidy ended up getting arrested as part of a police’s infiltration of an encrypted phone network EncroChat used by criminals to facilitate drug sales, firearms distribution, and violent activities.

During a hearing at Manchester Crown Court, Cassidy pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges related to the supply of Class A drugs and the concealment, disguise, conversion, or transfer of criminal proceeds.

His brother, Jonathan Cassidy, aged 50, also admitted to conspiracy charges involving the evasion of drug importation prohibition, the supply of Class A drugs, and the concealment, disguise, conversion, or transfer of criminal proceeds. Additionally, Nasar Ahmed, aged 51, pleaded guilty to the same three charges.

Judge Nicholas Dean KC, the Honorary Recorder of Manchester, told Jamie Cassidy, appearing in court via video link this week from HMP Forest Bank in Salford: “I’m quite sure that after more than three years in custody your anxiety is to know the sentence that you face. You will not have much longer to wait for that to occur.”

The three men were remanded into custody and now face sentencing next month.

The Cassidys and Ahmed all pleaded guilty on the eve of a proposed trial and have been remanded in custody for more than three years awaiting trial.

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