• Fri. Aug 12th, 2022

20 Jailed after cannabis “county lines” gang drug busts

Byscarcity news

Jul 4, 2022
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It started as an investigation in 2019 into an organised crime group involved in supplying cannabis and cocaine – and has ended with 20 people being sentenced in the courts.

Intensive work by officers from the East Midlands Special Operations Unit had uncovered a well-established criminal arrangement between two men – Reece White and Joseph Black with White supplying Black with regular wholesale amounts of cocaine and cannabis.

But it was following the arrest of Black in August 2019 that further investigations into the pair led officers to identify more and more people who were involved in the supply of drugs – with 20 people being brought before the courts over the past couple of years.

Over the past three months, the defendants have been sentenced at Leicester Crown Court after all previously pleaded guilty to various drugs offences.

Officers had arrested Black on 21 August 2019 after he had met with White in Wigston where he had received a quarter of a kilogram of cannabis and 125g of cocaine. Black was stopped as he drove back to Derbyshire where he was found in possession of the drugs.

Examination of phones showed there had been a number of previous supplies between White and Black while also identifying that Black had his own customer base for the drugs. Black’s girlfriend Hannah Bradbury and associate Reece O’Connell were also found to be assisting him in the preparation and distribution of cannabis to customers.

Following the arrest of Black, White was found to focus his attention on developing and expanding his cannabis supplies. Officers identified Joshua Burns from the West Midlands area who was shown to be operating commercial cannabis factories and supplying White with multiple kilogram amounts of cannabis.

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In October 2019, Burns was seen by officers to meet with White and with another man – Ryan Steers – in the Wigston area and supply multiple kilogram amounts of cannabis. White and Steers then drove away where their car was subsequently stop checked by police. The vehicle was found to contain around two kilograms of cannabis. Evidence recovered showed the cannabis was intended for a man by the name of Benjamin McDonagh.

White’s home was also searched where a further eight kilograms of cannabis were found as well as two ounces of cocaine in a vehicle parked outside.

Further investigation then showed that White was also involved with a network of cannabis suppliers. These included Dillon Kidger, Tommy Squires, Shay Allen, Perry Clarke, Sonny Clarke, Robert Telford, Adam Mulla and Carolyn Spencer.

It was then found Kidger was involved in a further conspiracy to supply cannabis with another man – Jason Chatwani. It was also found that Sonny Clarke was being assisted in supplying cannabis by Nikita Dell and that they supplied wholesale amounts of cannabis to a man named Michael Wright.

Robert Telford was also found to be using his brother Thomas Telford’s address in Syston to supply the cannabis which he had received from White. A further criminal associate of the group Faisal Mohammed was found to have been importing cannabis for supply within the group from the United States. A number of kilograms of cannabis was evidenced as being imported as part of the investigation.

The people involved were all arrested and charged with various offences with admissions to offences being made during court hearings held at Leicester Crown Court during 2020, 2021 and 2022.

At sentencing hearings heard from Monday 28 March to Wednesday 30 March 2022:

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  • Joshua Burns, 35, of Hillbank, Tividale, Oldbury, was sentenced to a total of five years imprisonment after previously pleading guilty to two counts of production of cannabis
  • Joseph Black, 29, of Kelmoor Road, Alvaston, Derbyshire, was sentenced to a total of four years and two months imprisonment after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and conspiracy to supply cannabis
  • Shay Allen, 25, of High Street, Whetstone, Leicestershire, was sentenced to two years and nine months imprisonment after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cannabis
  • Faisal Mohammed, 32, of Scalpay Close, Leicester, was sentenced to a total of two years and two months imprisonment after previously pleading guilty to three counts of fraudulent evasion of a prohibition in respect of cannabis (importation of cannabis into the UK). He was also sentenced to serve a total of six months imprisonment consecutively after pleading guilty to possession with intent to supply cannabis, possession of criminal property (cash) and driving while disqualified. These charges relate to a separate incident in Leicester in January this year. Mohammed was also disqualified from driving for three years. Mohammed was therefore sentenced to a total of two years and eight months imprisonment.
  • Tommy Squires, 31, of Barnards Way, Kibworth Harcourt, Leicestershire, was sentenced to one year and 10 months imprisonment suspended for two years after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cannabis. He was also ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and made the subject of a three-month curfew from 8pm until 5am.Squires also appeared at Leicester Crown Court on Wednesday 1 June where he pleaded guilty to failing to provide a PIN code to his mobile device. He was sentenced to a further nine months imprisonment, suspended for two years. This sentence is consecutive making the total sentence received two years and seven months imprisonment suspended for two years.
  • Benjamin McDonagh, 36, of Barrow Road, Sileby, Leicestershire, was sentenced to one year and eight months imprisonment suspended for two years after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cannabis. He was also ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and made the subject of a three-month curfew order from 8pm to 5am.
  • Dillon Kidger, 27, of Anthony Drive, Thurnby, Leicestershire, was sentenced to a total of one year and eight months imprisonment suspended for two years after previously pleading guilty to two counts of conspiracy to supply cannabis. He was also ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and made the subject of a three-month curfew order from 8pm to 5am.
  • Perry Clarke, 33, of Durnford Road, Wigston, Leicestershire, was sentenced to one year and seven months imprisonment suspended for two years after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cannabis. He was also ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and made the subject of a two-month curfew order from 8pm to 4am.
  • Reece O’Connell, 27, of Chadwick Avenue, Derby, was sentenced to one year and six months imprisonment suspended for two years after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cannabis. He was also ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work and made the subject of a three-month curfew order from 9pm to 6am.
  • Ryan Steers, 35, of Vedonis Road, Lutterworth, Leicestershire, was sentenced to one year and six months imprisonment suspended for two years after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cannabis. He was also ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work and made the subject of a three-month curfew order from 8pm to 6am.
  • Sonny Clarke, 34, of Burgess Street, Wigston, Leicestershire, was sentenced to one year and four months custody suspended for two years after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cannabis. He was also ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work and made the subject of a two-month curfew order from 8pm to 5am.
  • Jason Chatwani, 40, of Uppingham Road, Leicester, was sentenced to one year and two months imprisonment suspended for two years after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cannabis. He was also ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work and made the subject of a three-month curfew order from 8pm to 5am.
  • Michael Wright, 42, of Stanford Hill, Loughborough, was sentenced to one year and two months imprisonment suspended for two years after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cannabis. He was also ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work.
  • Robert Telford, 27, of Church Road, Thurmaston, Leicestershire, was sentenced to a total of 10 months custody suspended for two years after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cannabis and possession of cocaine. He was also made the subject of a three-month curfew order from 8pm to 5am.
  • Adam Mulla, 30, of Humberstone Drive, Leicester, was sentenced to nine months and two weeks imprisonment suspended for two years after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cannabis. He was also ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and made the subject of a three-month curfew order from 8pm to 5am.
  • Carolyn Spencer, 46, of Ivychurch Crescent, Leicester, was sentenced to eight months imprisonment suspended for two years after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cannabis. She was also ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and made the subject of a two-month curfew order from 8pm to 5am.
  • Nikita Dell, 27, of Burgess Street, Wigston, was sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended for two years after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cannabis
  • Thomas Telford, 29, of Howe Lane, Rothley, Leicestershire, was sentenced to 24 weeks imprisonment suspended for one year after previously pleading guilty to allowing premises to be used for the supply of cannabis. He was also ordered to carry out 40 hours of unpaid work and made the subject of a two-month curfew order from 8pm to 5am.
  • Hannah Bradbury, 28, of Kelmoor Road, Alvaston, Derbyshire, was sentenced to a 12-month community order after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cannabis. She was also ordered to carry out 40 hours of unpaid work.

On Wednesday 1 June at Leicester Crown Court:

  • Reece White, 30, of Durnford Road, Wigston, Leicestershire, was sentenced to seven years and six months imprisonment after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and conspiracy to supply cannabis. White was also issued with a five-year Serious Crime Prevention Order which will begin when he is released from prison.

Officer in the case, Police Constable Rosie Wood said: “As more investigations were carried out during this operation, officers identified more and more people involved in drugs supply. Over the past few years this has seen 20 people brought before the courts with the sentencings then being passed over the past three months.

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