Police found £1.3 million in Lozells house during Encrochat drug operation

An organised crime group who made thousands of pounds dealing in Class A drugs has been jailed for more than 86 years.

Led by James Ross, the Walsall based empire transported Cocaine, Ketamine and cash in vehicles with professionally installed concealed compartments in floors and seats.

Officers from our Regional Organised Crime Unit already had Ross in their sights after he was convicted of drug offences in April 2021. While he served a nine month prison sentence, detectives focussed their attention on his second in command, Steed Webster.













In just three months between 13 October 2021 and 20 January 2022 officers monitored the movements of the gang as they conspired to supply controlled drugs and launder criminal cash.

On 16 October 2021 37-year-old Muzafar Abrarov was arrested in possession of £300,000 in cash with a further £1.3 million found at his home address in Lozells. He was jailed for 45 months on 23 December 2021 after admitting being in possession of criminal property.

Ross was released from prison the same month (Oct 21) on licence and regained leadership of the gang, but in February 2022 he removed his tag and absconded to Farnborough where he was arrested, having booked into a hotel under false details.


Between November 2021 and January 2022 the key players in the OCG were arrested, most in possession of large quantities of drugs and cash.

In all officers seized £1,773,065 in cash, 66KG of high purity Cocaine with an estimated street value of £8M and 10KG of Ketamine with an estimated street value of £40K.

In addition three vehicles were seized, equipped with electronic mechanisms to open and close concealed compartments where the contraband was hidden.

Detective Inspector Dave Simpson said: “Through meticulous investigation we were able to identify each member of the group and the part they played in the organisation.

“Eleven were charged with conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and conspiracy to commit money laundering, and pleaded guilty at court in August last year. Two others pleaded guilty to assisting an OCG.

“James Ross was also charged with conspiracy to supply Cocaine and cannabis, and conspiracy to money launder between 1 January and 30 June 2020.

“This was part of an operation which saw law enforcement agencies in Europe infiltrating EncroChat, one of the world’s largest encrypted communications services used by criminals.

“Ross used the handle “Spiralpizza” from which messages were recovered showing his involvement in the supply of 61 kilos of cocaine, five kilos of cannabis and a cash turnover of over £2million with associates across the country. He pleaded guilty to all of these offences.








“Another member of the gang, Harry Swann, also used the now permanently deactivated EncroChat service under the “Visibledonut” handle.”

During the past four days (2-5 Jan) at Stafford Crown Court sentences were passed as follows:

• James Ross, aged 37 of Croxdene Avenue, Bloxwich – jailed for 20 years.

• Steed Webster, aged 42 of Wolverhampton Road West, Bentley -jailed for nine years and five months.

• Ben Ellett, aged 35 of Foxglove Close, Lichfield – jailed for 10 years and five months.

• Keeley White, aged 34 of Tintern Crescent, Bloxwich – jailed for five years and seven months.

• Daniel Rowley, aged 33 of Tintern Crescent, Bloxwich – jailed for five years and seven months.

• Marc Lewis, aged 38 of Stanley Road, Darlaston – jailed for six years and eight months.

• Rocky Webster, aged 43 of Wolverhampton Street, Darlaston – jailed for seven years and seven months.

• Harry Fisher, aged 29 of Westcotes, Coventry – jailed for five years and seven months.

• Marcus Robins, aged 32 of Haseley Hall, Warwick – jailed for five years and three months.

• Harry Swann, aged 26 of Beaudesert Road, Burntwood – jailed for 10 years.

• Gillian Cunningham, aged 40 of Stapleton Close, Sutton Coldfield – 21 months imprisonment suspended for two years.

For assisting an OCG:

• Samantha Ross, aged 37 of Victoria Avenue, Bloxwich – 15 months imprisonment suspended for two years.

• Jade Myring, aged 35 of Stanley Road, Darlaston – 15 months imprisonment suspended for two years.


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