Eight members of a crime group that supplied class A drugs across England and laundered millions of pounds through sham companies, have been sentenced to a total of 70 years imprisonment.
Members of the organisation supplied, cocaine and other illegal drugs, and transferred at least £1.8m in illicit profits offshore via sham company bank accounts.
Tilbury man Baljinder Kang, who led the organisation while enjoying a lavish lifestyle, was given an 18 year prison term.
His right hand man, Sukhjinder Pooney, from Gravesend, was sentenced to 16 years.
The extensive criminal organisation, which supplied class A drugs and laundered millions of pounds in illicit profits, was dismantled following an investigation by the joint NCA and Metropolitan Police Organised Crime Partnership (OCP).
Kang, and his right hand man Pooney used encrypted smartphones as well as a succession of unregistered ‘burner’ phones to direct the group’s activity.
Members of the crime group trafficked millions of pounds-worth of illegal drugs across England. The proceeds were then deposited in cash into front company bank accounts, before being transferred to a destination account in Dubai.
One of the deposits was made in Halifax.
On October 19 last year, officers observed Pooney subordinate Amir Ali as he entered a branch of Barclays in Halifax and deposited £50,000 cash into the account of a sham company called Layton Commodities Ltd.
He then drove to an industrial estate in Wakefield, where another car flashed its lights at him.
Ali got into that car, and after exchanging tokens (a method of identifying that he was the correct recipient of the criminal property) was handed a large holdall. Ali then returned to his vehicle carrying the bag.
Ali and the two men he had met – Hummaad Khadim and Omer Sattar - were arrested, but not before Khadim had attempted to drive away at speed, knocking down an officer and ramming three police vehicles blocking his path.
The bag was found to contain £100,100 in cash. In total, 33 empty £5,000 cash deposit bags were found in his car and home address, all labelled as payable to the crime group’s front accounts for eventual transfer offshore.
During the course of the investigation, officers seized more than £1.4million in cash, with at least £1.8 million more known to have been laundered by the criminal network.
The OCP operation resulted in the seizure of over 37kgs of Class A drugs - including heroin and cocaine with a street level value of over £3.5m - a handgun with ammunition, and 50kgs of ketamine.
Numerous additional drug deals, including one representing “53¾” [kg] bought, were noted in ledgers found by officers searching Kang’s home address after he was first arrested in January 2018.
Despite having very little legitimate income, Kang lived a lavish lifestyle. He purchased luxury goods from designer stores including Gucci, Ralph Lauren and Harrods and owned watches worth £12,000 and £36,000. He also leased a Mercedes and an Audi A3, and travelled regularly to the United Arab Emirates.
At Kingston Crown Court, Pooney was found guilty of conspiracy to supply class A drugs having previously pleaded guilty to money laundering offences.
One of Pooney’s cash couriers, Kieran O’Kane, was also found guilty of money laundering, while Webster Kenton and Abad Rasul were convicted of conspiracy to supply class B drugs - Rasul in his absence having absconded while on bail.
Baljinder Kang pleaded guilty to all charges against him on 23 May 2019. Money launderers Amir Ali and Aminoor Ahmed did the same, on 23 and 24 May respectively.
The other group members to be jailed were
Kieran O’Kane: four years laundering criminal property and possession of cocaine
Aminoor Ahmed: five years for participating in laundering criminal property
Amir Ali: four years and six months for laundering criminal property
Webster Kenton: seven years for conspiracy to supply 50kgs ketamine
Abid Rasul: six years for conspiracy to supply 50kgs ketamine. Sentenced in his absence (fled to Islamabad)
Dinesh Nadesan: six years for conspiracy to supply 50kgs ketamine. Sentenced in his absence (fled to Islamabad)
Another man Chandra Suppu was given 24 months suspended for two years, 180 hours of unpaid work. Omer Sattar was also given 18 months for laundering criminal property suspended for two years. 200 hours unpaid work.