A gang of 16 men, who sold cocaine via text message, have been jailed.
Based out of addresses in Leicester city centre, the group operated three mobile phone numbers, which allowed members of the public to buy drugs. Both were monitored by an ‘operator’ who would be a direct point of contact with the buyer.
The operator would then contact a ‘courier’ – who was using a different number – who would then meet the buyer, hand over the cocaine and collect the cash.
However, the group’s criminal activity – between October 2019 and January 2021 – was uncovered following a comprehensive investigation by the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU).
It is estimated that the group received just under £2 million dealing drugs in this 16-month period.
During the case, more than £74,000 was seized by the police and forfeiture orders have been to recover it.
The group previously appeared at court where they admitted their crimes. Sentencing took place both yesterday and today (Wednesday 1 March) at Leicester Crown Court.
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EMSOU Detective Sergeant Lindsay O’Nion said: “This group were running a very thorough and complex operation to supply drugs across Leicester.
“Their approach – using numerous mobile phone numbers – was developed in the belief it would make it difficult for police to identify them and bring them to justice. However, as a result of a very long, detailed and thorough investigation, they’re now serving custodial sentences.
“I hope the public can take some reassurance from this case and know that we will investigate and take action against anyone attempting to bring drugs to the streets of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.”
Detective Superintendent James Avery added: “The sentencing of this group is the culmination of a thorough and highly professional police investigation which was recognised in court today.
“It represents our determination to identify, catch and convict those who are involved in the supply of drugs and that there is no limit to our reach as Leicestershire Police works collaboratively with colleagues in EMSOU to bring offenders to justice.”