Tuesday 26 October 2021
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Drug gang jailed for over 200 years between them for £60m plot

Twenty-two members of a gang who ploughed more than £20m of high-purity illegal drugs around the country have been jailed for more than 200 years – following a police investigation that started in Nottinghamshire.

The huge national network was unravelled after Nottinghamshire Police recovered 111kg of amphetamine in a raid at a house in Radford in October 2017, which led dedicated detectives to unearth links to the major conspiracy involving people in Nottinghamshire and other parts of the East Midlands.

The drugs involved in the plot could have been sold for up to £60m on the street.

Following a lengthy investigation, major enforcement followed across eight counties in two days in February 2019 which brought the illicit operation to an abrupt end.

It found the operation was being coordinated out of Leicestershire, with main stash sites and supply routes in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and the West Midlands.

At Leicester Crown Court this week (Monday 6 to Friday 10 September 2021), 11 people were sentenced for their involvement. They follow 11 others, who were sentenced previously, but can only be reported on now following the lifting of restrictions.

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Following the initial warrant in Nottinghamshire, 20kg of cannabis was also seized later that month from boxes in a car in Derby, leading to 189kg of rare and potent anabolic steroid hexadrone in heat-sealed bags stuffed in six suitcases at a storage unit in the city.

Two months later, 35kg of cocaine – some of which had been branded with ‘K Crown’ stamps – was seized from a van at Sandbach Services, north of Stoke-on-Trent. More cocaine was recovered from a house in Willenhall in Wolverhampton. At the same site 100kg of powerful sedative ketamine, kept in boxes marked as shoes, was recovered.

The investigation identified that the organised crime group handled more than a tonne of Class A and B drugs (500kg of cocaine, and 500kg of amphetamines, cannabis, hexadrone and ketamine) throughout 2017.

The importation and onward distribution of the drugs was arranged by Ardeep Takhar, from his semi-detached home in a Leicester suburb. Jasbir Sangha and Daljit Pamma managed its transportation to Lawinder Bahia’s home in Willenhall, which had been specially adapted to create an annex off the entrance to the main house for the drugs storage.

They also arranged delivery to a key ‘client’, namely Sukjinder Sandhu in Derbyshire, who worked with and Adam Dooley, also in Derbyshire, David Moth in Nottinghamshire and Marc Unsted, who was based in the West Midlands, to prepare and distribute large quantities of illicit substances across the country.

Sandhu counted on runners Claire Smallman, Zahid Quayum and Jamie Brear. Moth was assisted by Robert Buttar, Laurence Smith and self-proclaimed ‘chemist’ Mark Thone.

The gang also had links into a storage site in Slough and the investigating team found further reach into other towns and cities across the country, including Leeds, London, Middlesbrough and March in Cambridgeshire, as well as up to Edinburgh.

Enquiries made by Nottinghamshire Police and other regional forces on this investigation also led to the uncovering of a separate six-year conspiracy between Unsted and Dooley to supply steroids, between 2013 and 2019.

Detective Inspector Nick Hall, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “This was a huge case for Nottinghamshire Police as it led to a major drugs conspiracy being unearthed, with the gang bringing a tonne of dangerous drugs into the UK.

“They would have benefitted by tens of millions of pounds from the enterprise with no thought to the incredible damage the drugs would cause to communities across the country.

“The investigation discovered that Ardeep Takhar was the ringleader but kept his distance by controlling the whole illicit operation from afar in Leicester. He arranged for Lawinder Bahia, Jasbir Sangha and Daljit Pamma to do most of the leg work, receiving the secret shipments as they were brought into the country and then transporting it between counties.

“One of the key players was David Moth, formerly of Top Valley, who alongside Sukjinder Sandhu from Derby commanded their own gangs and, in partnership with Adam Dooley and Marc Unsted, went on to flood countless communities with millions of pounds-worth of deadly drugs.

“This investigation has been supported by the National Crime Agency and Border Force and has had a huge impact in taking a huge amount of drugs off the streets, but also the people involved – from the ones at the top pulling the strings to bring the drugs into the country, to those on the streets supplying the final product, and everything in between.

“Nottinghamshire Police is fully committed to tackling drugs and protecting people from the serious harm it causes, from the serious violence that street gangs enact on the streets in turf wars to the robberies, burglaries and theft that drug dependency can lead to – not to mention the health impacts.

“Intelligence plays a major part  in the war on drugs and I would encourage anyone who suspects drugs activity in their neighbourhoods to call Nottinghamshire Police on 101 so we can take action to keep their communities safe.”

Efforts to identify and seize money or other assets gained from the crimes are under way under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Below is the full list of those sentenced this week under this operation:

  • Sukjinder Singh Sandhu, aged 38 and formerly of Radcliffe Drive in Derby, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and two counts of conspiracy to supply Class B drugs. He was jailed for 22 years, six months.
  • David Moth, aged 47 and formerly of Hogan Gardens in Top Valley, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A and Class B drugs. He was jailed for 14 years.
  • Marc Edward Unsted, aged 42 and formerly of Cheslyn Way in Walsall, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A and Class B drugs following a trial in April. He previously pleaded guilty to offering to supply Class B drugs and two counts of conspiracy to supply Class C drugs. He was jailed for 20 years.
  • Adam Ellis Dooley, aged 42 and formerly of Wilsthorpe Road in Breaston, Derbyshire, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A and Class B drugs, following a trial in April. He previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to fraudulently evade the prohibition on the importation of goods, conspiracy to produce Class C drugs and conspiracy to supply Class C drugs. He was jailed for 20 years.
  • Claire Louise Smallman, aged 45 and formerly of Arthur Street, Derby. previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A and Class B drugs. She was jailed for eight years.
  • Robert Buttar, aged 38 and formerly of Holborn View in Codnor, Derbyshire, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A and Class B drugs. He was jailed for 11 years.
  • Mark Anthony Thone, aged 57 and formerly of Gregory Boulevard in Forest Fields, pleaded guilty during trial to conspiracy to supply Class B drugs. He was jailed for ten years, six months.
  • Laurence James Smith, aged 32 and formerly of York Avenue in Sandiacre, Derbyshire, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class B drugs. He was jailed for three years, one month.
  • Baljit Singh Kandola, aged 44 and formerly of Markmanor Avenue in London, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class B drugs. He was jailed for two years, six months.
  • Daniel Henry, aged 44 and formerly of Jennison Street in Mansfield, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class B drugs. He was sentenced to . He was sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years, as well as 160 unpaid work.
  • Lee Vaughan, aged 36 and formerly of Kenilworth Road in Balby, Doncaster, previously pleaded guilty to being concerned in the production of a Class B drug by another. He was sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years, as well as 150 hours of unpaid work.

The following people were sentenced over the summer:

  • Pavendeep Dosanjh, aged 43 and formerly of Donington Drive in Derby, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class B drugs. In August he was sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years, as well as 160 hours of unpaid work.
  • Furhan Mahmood, aged 43 and formerly of Halbutt Street in Dagenham, Essex, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class B drugs. In August he was sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years, as well as 160 hours of unpaid work.
  • Aiste Balasaityte, aged 37 and formally of Cheslyn Way in Walsall, was found guilty of two counts of converting criminal property. In July, she was sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years, as well as 150 hours of unpaid work.

The following people were sentenced at the end of 2019 into 2020, following a trial:

  • Ardeep Takhar, aged 45 and formerly of Staveley Road in Leicester, was found guilty of conspiracy to import and supply Class A and Class B drugs. He was sentenced to 29 years imprisonment.
  • Lawinder Bahia, aged 52 and formerly of Shoreham Close in Willenhall, was found guilty of conspiracy to import and supply Class A and Class B drugs. He was sentenced to 23 years imprisonment.
  • Jasbir Sangha, aged 40 and formerly of Narborough Road South in Leicester, was found guilty of conspiracy to import Class A and Class B drugs, and conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. He previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class B drugs. He was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment.
  • Daljit Singh Pamma, aged 50 and formally of Rosemead Drive, Oadby, Leicester, was found guilty of conspiracy to import and supply Class A and Class B drugs. He was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment.
  • Jamie Clifford Brear, aged 35 and formerly of Border Crescent in Derby, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A and Class B drugs. He was sentenced to six years, eight months imprisonment.
  • Zahid Quayum, aged 53 and formerly of Porter Road in Derby, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class B drugs. He was sentenced to five years imprisonment.
  • David Gunn, aged 55 and formerly of Gainsford Crescent in Bestwood, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class B drugs. He was sentenced to three years, three months imprisonment.
  • Kelly Bates, aged 39 and formerly of Besecar Avenue in Gedling, Nottinghamshire, previously pleaded guilty to allowing her premises to be used for Class A drugs supply. She was sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for 24 months.
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