DRUGS GANG BEHIND BARS
COVERT POLICE OPERATION TOOK DOWN ORGANISED CRIME GROUP
SIX members of an organised crime group which dealt cocaine in the county are beginning lengthy jail sentences, writes Suzy Gibson.
The arrest of the six, four from Leicestershire and two from Nottinghamshire, followed a huge covert police operation over two years.
Detective Inspector Lee Hunt said: “Drugs destroy lives and we have taken down a large organised crime group who didn’t care about the impact of selling drugs.”
SIX members of an organised crime group peddling cocaine in the county have been sentenced to more than 44 years in prison between them.
It followed a huge covert operation spanning two years which saw more than 50 people arrested across Leicestershire, Linconshire, Liverpool and Nottinghamshire.
After investigating the class A drug networks around the East Midlands, arrests were made throughout the summer of 2019 with the first cases coming to trial in 2020, when the first three dealers were jailed. Now six more men – including four from Leicestershire – are behind bars.
Detective Inspector Lee Hunt, from East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU), said: “Drugs destroy lives and communities and through this operation we have taken down a large organised crime group who didn’t care about the impact of selling drugs.
“Last week four individuals received substantial prison sentences and this week another two were sentenced for the part they played in a much bigger operation, and it is only through the tenacity of detectives from EMSOU.”
On Monday, Florian Isufaj (35) of Charlbury Road, Nottingham, was sentenced to nine years and 10 months in prison after being found guilty of conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
The same day, Nasser WadeAkhtar (41) of Bobbers Mill Road, Nottingham, was sentenced to six years and four months in prison having been found guilty of conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
Both men were members of an organised crime group in Nottingham who were supplying cocaine and cannabis to another organised crime group in Leicester.
Last week four members of the Leicester gang were jailed after being found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine after a four-week trial at Leicester Crown Court in May this year.
Ashley Sharp (27), of Forest Road, Markfield, who was identified as the organiser of the supply network, was sentenced to seven years and six months in prison.
His right-hand man Benjamin Miller (29) of Walpole Court, Braunstone, Leicester, was sentenced to six years and six months in prison.
Philip Warren (39) of Hinckley Road, Leicester, who bought cocaine for selling on the streets, was sentenced to seven years and six months in prison.
Courier Richard Elton (46) of Rancliffe Crescent, Braunstone, Leicester, was sentenced to six years and six months in prison.
During the arrests in 2019, various drugs and cash was seized, along with their mobile phones, which showed the scale of the operation.
Inspector Hunt said: “Those convicted ran a business-like operation and they all had a key role to play in the supply of controlled drugs onto the streets.
“Enforcement in 2019 saw us execute more than 50 warrants across the county, as well as in Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Liverpool.
“More than 50 people were arrested during the operation.”
He said the crackdown on drug networks would continue and that the fight against drugs was “neverending”.
He said: “This was a significant operation for us but our work doesn’t end here.
“We know the supply of controlled drugs is a never-ending battle and there is always someone waiting to fill the gap left by others.
“Our efforts to stop the misuse of drugs will continue and we will carry out further operations of this nature to disrupt the criminal activity.”