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£377K confiscated from Halifax drug trafficking ring

Black Ferrari and John Elam, inset
Black Ferrari and John Elam, inset

A convicted Halifax criminal has been ordered to pay close to £76,000 of his ill-gotten gains, marking the end of a major money laundering investigation.

John Andrew Elam (35) from Halifax was ordered to pay £75,873 at Leeds Crown Court as part of Operation Gascony, a major investigation into a drugs trafficking ring by the Regional Asset Recovery Team (RART).

He was given three months in which to pay the figure or face an 18-month prison sentence.

The seizure follows the confiscation of £377,157 from two Halifax men and a male from London who were jailed in 2016 for their role in the drugs trafficking ring (Op Gascony).

Billy Jo Elam (33) and Andrew Elam (31) from Halifax were subject to a confiscation orders of £112,164 and £205,352, respectively in January this year, while the third man was ordered to pay £59,641 in December 2017.

In total, officers have now confiscated more £453,000 from conspirators involved in the gang.

Operation Gascony saw RART mount a long running investigation into a lucrative drug trafficking enterprise.

The Elam’s from Halifax were convicted and jailed for their parts in laundering the proceeds of the drugs ring and were assisted in their by a 44-year-old London male who also received a custodial sentence.

He would receive cash from the Halifax men, in return paying them fake ‘wages’ through his business accounts as the means by which the criminal origin of the money was disguised and laundered.

The investigation saw police recover £150,000 in drugs contaminated cash from a bag in a Bradford property, and a high value black Ferrari car.

The Ferrari (pictured) was later seized and sold by the police as part of the action to recover criminal proceeds.

The confiscation orders will be met with cash, property seized from the Halifax area and proceeds from the sale of high value vehicles including the black Ferrari car.

Detective Superintendent Nigel Costello of West Yorkshire Police, said: “These orders will have a significant impact on the Elam gang and demonstrate that each component member of enterprises engaged in these types of crime will be stripped of their ill-gotten gains.

“Those who choose to launder for criminals can expect to be pursued with equal vigour as their clients and these confiscations highlight the huge amounts of financial damage we can now cause to organised crime groups.”