Three Indian-origin members of an organised crime group have been jailed for smuggling cannabis worth around 1 million pounds into the UK from Canada, police said.
Kuran Gill, Jag Singh and Govind Bahia, all in their 30s, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import a ‘class B’ drug and were sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court, the Kent Police said.
The Border Force officers discovered two pallet-loads of cannabis within a shipment of computer casing at Heathrow airport in February 2021.
Valued at around 1 million pounds, the drugs had been flown across from Canada and were due to be delivered to a business address in Dartford.
The detectives were able to link the shipment to members of a criminal network who had been arranging the importation of cannabis over an illegally-encrypted mobile phone platform, which international law enforcement agencies cracked in the spring of 2020, according to the Kent Police.
“The cracking of the EncroChat mobile phone platform has led to countless criminals being caught red-handed and brought to justice,” Investigating officer, Detective Constable Steve Brown of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said in a release last week.
Kuran Gill, 32, of Sun Marsh Way, Gravesend, organised the importation and onward distribution of the cannabis and also facilitated the sale of a kilogram of cocaine.
Officers seized around 105,000 pound cash from his home address following his arrest in April 2021.
Gill pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import a ‘class B’ drug, conspiracy to supply cocaine and possession of criminal property, and was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment.
Jag Singh, 32, of The Boulevard, south-west London, was also involved in organising the importation and distribution of the cannabis.
Using the chat handle of ‘Real Crocodile’ he exchanged multiple messages with Gill in which they openly discussed routes into the country, ways in which the drugs could be concealed and how much it would cost.
Singh pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import a class B drug and was jailed for four years and nine months.
Govind Bahia, 30, of Tennyson Walk, Gravesend, assisted Gill with advice and direction on the type and quantity of cannabis to purchase.
He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import a class B drug and was jailed for three years.The drugs were seized as part of an investigation by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate.
“Organised gangs across Europe thought they could openly discuss their criminal activity, oblivious to the fact the system was not as secure as they thought and that every message they sent was bringing them a step closer to prison,” Brown said.