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Drugs gang jailed for a total of 55 years in prison

Six men have been sentenced to a total of 55 years in prison after being convicted for their parts in a high value organised drugs conspiracy.

In 2022, officers from EMSOU began investigating an organised crime group headed by a previous convict.

He had previously been convicted for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, for which he received a 10-year prison sentence in mid-2011 and less than a year after his release he was legitimately employed as a parcel courier.

However, it was quickly established that he was using this legitimate employment as a cloak of invisibility from the authorities by using his work clothing and vehicles to provide cover for the fact that as he was legally working, he was at the same time, continuing to supply large amounts of Class A drugs across Leicestershire.

Officers identified that he was working alongside his trusted lieutenant, who was also a convicted Class A drug supplier, to assist him in the storage and transportation of cocaine and heroin that was being supplied onwards to a man in Leicester and another in Market Harborough, who used his brother, to collect and deliver Class A drugs on his behalf.

Again, both men were individuals that had previous convictions for the supply of Class A drugs.

In August 2022, detectives were able to put the men in contact together following which one man was stopped by officers in his car at a petrol station in Markfield. Hidden under the passenger seat was a bag containing a kilogram of heroin and a kilogram of a paracetamol and caffeine mix. Around £2,000 in cash was also found inside the vehicle.

Photos of drugs seized from the vehicle

This arrest of was the start of evidence gathering to show the contact between the other individuals involved in the conspiracy to supply the drugs.

As the investigation progressed, a warrant was executed at head mans trusted lieutenant home address. Cocaine and heroin intended for onward supply were recovered along with weighing scales with cocaine and heroin residue on them. Mobile phones were also found inside the address, one of which belonged to the ringleader and contained the contact numbers for others involved.

In September 2022, a drug exchange took place between two me involved, and one was detained as he returned to his business in Market Harborough. He was found to be in possession of almost £10,000 worth of heroin and cocaine which was later forensically linked to the other man.

A subsequent search that took place of the business premises found heroin, cocaine and a cutting agent and a tick list of drugs debts owed as well as £16,690 in cash, believed to be profits from drug supply.

Between November 2022 and January 2023, the investigation team was able to attribute at least 17 occasions there had been supplies of Class A drugs from ring leader to others involved either directly, or using a middle man.

The ringleader was arrested after he was stopped checked by officers, subjected to a drugs search where they found he tried to drop 11g of cocaine. As he was being interviewed, a search was conducted at an address owned by an associate of his that he was known to be in regular communication with.

A search of the bathroom within this address highlighted a loose area of tiles/panels and found behind this was over half a kilogram of cocaine, along with around 4kg of boric acid; a commonly encountered cutting agent for Class A drugs. The cocaine alone was worth over £55,000 in sale value but, combined with the boric acid, the value would have been significantly more.

Photos of cocaine and boric acide seized from the address

He was later forensically linked to the drugs recovered from this address and furthermore, a search of his home address found around £5,000 in cash stored in the freezer.

Between May and June last year, all of the men, along with a seventh suspect, were re-arrested, interviewed and subsequently charged.

One man pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and possession with intent to supply Class A drugs on 25 June.

In November 2023 the ringleader, 4 others and the seventh suspect - a 52-year-old man from Hathern - all stood trial at Leicester Crown Court for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. 

Between them they received 55 years imprisonment.

On passing sentence for the first four defendants, HHJ Timothy Spencer KC made the following remarks: “You four should all have pleaded guilty a long time ago on the face of evidence of this strength and would have saved yourself as a minimum one third. But no, you all decided you wanted a trial so you must face the consequences. It is worth just reminding oneself of the seizures in this case. For me to remember, not that I have forgotten, the scale of what we are dealing with here.”

Detective Sergeant Chris Sewell, who was the Senior Investigating Officer, said: “The ringleader clearly felt he was untouchable and thought his plan to distribute the drugs under the disguise of being a legitimate courier was flawless.

“However, following a lengthy and complex investigation, which demonstrated some determined detective work using some excellent investigative tools, we were able to clearly evidence that despite being released from prison, little than a year before, he was back to supplying Class A drugs once again.

“With the exception of one, these men may have operated under his instructions but are just as guilty having knowingly participated in their varying roles. Many of them have previous convictions for drugs supply and obviously seemed content on continuing to peddle misery across those communities which are so badly affected by drug offences.

“This shows the lengths these men would not stop to continue committing these offences and I am pleased that we were able to develop and present an extremely difficult case to dismantle this network with excellent results.

DS Sewell added: “We will not tolerate drugs on our streets, and we will continue to act on information received and to bring those responsible for drug offending before the courts. If you have any information about drug offending in your community, please do report it to us so that we can take the action needed.”

POCA confiscation and/or forfeiture proceedings will now commence against those convicted to strip assets believed to have been acquired due to their involvement in drug supply.

Read more here.

For more about how we tackle serious and organised crime in the region and nationally, click here.


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