A police investigation into industrial amounts of class A drugs being supplied across the UK has led to four more men being jailed.
In January this year we reported how 22 men had been sentenced to a total of more than 200 years imprisonment after an encrypted chat platform they used to organise and facilitate the supply of industrial amounts of cocaine and heroin across the UK was dismantled.
On Thursday 22 June, at Leicester Crown Court, further sentencings took place as part of the investigation which was carried out by the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU).
A 35-year-old man from Leicester was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for three counts of conspiracy to supply Class A controlled drugs (cocaine and heroin). He had pleaded guilty at a previous court hearing on 6 March 2023.
A 29-year-old man from Derbyshire was sentenced to eight years and eight months imprisonment for two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A controlled drugs (cocaine and heroin). He had pleaded guilty at a previous court hearing on 17 February 2023.
A 33-year-old man from Leicestershire was sentenced to eight years and three months imprisonment for conspiracy to supply a Class A controlled drug (cocaine). He had pleaded guilty at a previous court hearing on 30 April 2021.
A 36-year-old man from Leicester was sentenced to five years and three months imprisonment for conspiracy to supply a Class A controlled drug (cocaine). He had pleaded guilty at a previous court hearing on 4 April 2022.
Specialist officers from EMSOU began investigating in April 2020 after the encrypted chat platform 'Encrochat' was dismantled as part of a huge international law enforcement operation.
The court heard that large numbers of those sentenced had used the 'Encrochat' platform to organise and facilitate the supply of multiple kilograms of cocaine and heroin, primarily between January and September 2020.
Data recovered from the platform was used by officers to mount a successful prosecution highlighting the vast scale of the offending, stretching the length and breadth of the United Kingdom and across international boundaries.
It was reported at the previous sentencings how evidence gathered had shown that a Cheshire-based group were responsible for distributing dozens of kilograms of class A drugs into a Leicester-based group.
The investigation showed that the 35-year-old man was involved in this Leicester-based group and had used a fully liveried delivery van to transport Class A drugs across the United Kingdom for a number of different crime groups.
The Leicester based group would in turn supply a number of other individuals, including the other three sentenced, who had significant customer bases of their own for onward supply of Class A drugs.
Detective Inspector Chris Sewell, from EMSOU, said: “This was a huge investigation which ultimately led to large amounts of cash and class A drugs being recovered during police enforcement across 2020 and 2021. Arrests were made at various stages and locations across the length and breadth of the UK as well as abroad.
“A total of 26 men have now been sentenced as part of this investigation.
“Drug offending brings misery and harm to our communities and we will not tolerate it on our streets. 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."
Read more here.
*Further information on the previous sentencings can be found here: Twenty-two men jailed after encrypted chat platform being used to supply drugs dismantled | Leicestershire Police (leics.police.uk)