Two men and a woman who were involved in the wholesale supply of Class A and Class B drugs throughout the UK have today (6/1) been sentenced to a total of more than 15 years’ imprisonment.
Malcolm Floyd, of The Nutshell, Hamhaugh Island, Shepperton, Surrey, pleaded guilty to conspiring to supply a controlled drug of Class A (cocaine) and conspiring to supply a controlled drug of Class B (cannabis) at a previous court hearing at Southampton Crown Court on 10 December 2021.
The 53-year-old was sentenced to eight years and five months’ imprisonment in addition to a Serious Crime Prevention Order (SCPO), which will be in place for five years from his release.
Glen Hewes, of Telegraph Road, Southampton, pleaded guilty on the 4 May 2022 to the same offences and was sentenced to seven years and two months’ imprisonment today. The 52-year-old also received a Serious Crime Prevention Order (SCPO), which will be in place for five years from his release.
Cassandra Potter, also of Telegraph Road, Southampton, who previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to supply a controlled drug of Class B (cannabis). The 32-year-old was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years.
An investigation by the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) launched in July 2020 and uncovered evidence that the trio were involved in the wholesale supply of drugs.
Information had been passed to officers from Operation Venetic – the takedown by international law enforcement agencies of an encrypted global communication service, Encrochat, used by criminals to openly discuss their exploits.
The court heard encrypted messages attributed to the three showed their involvement in the supply of drugs and the movement of money, including Floyd orchestrating the crimes while he was residing in Thailand for several months between 1 March 2020 and 28 May 2020. Despite no physical devices being recovered, officers were able to use the data present in the messages to attribute them to the three.
On 12 June 2020 Hewes and Floyd viewed a show flat in Southampton during which Hewes captured a video walking from room to room, while giving commentary of the rooms. Hewes and Floyd were clearly captured on the video in reflections in the mirrors. Police enquiries uncovered their plans to buy several flats in the development.
Senior investigating officer Detective Sergeant Dan Hope, of SEROCU, said: “An extensive police investigation involving many hours of meticulous work attributing the encrypted messages has resulted in this organised crime group receiving substantial prison sentences.
“Floyd, Hewes and Potter thought they were able to hide behind perceived anonymity to conduct their criminal business using encrypted phones, however their plans failed once international law enforcement agencies took down the Encrochat platform, ensuring police forces were able to trace those who used it to boast about their criminality.
“If you are involved in the supply of illegal drugs, you can expect police to make every effort to disrupt this. Illegal drugs cause extensive harm to those who use the substances, and the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit will continue to make every effort to tackle serious and organised crime.”