Four jailed cannabis smuggled from Canada to Heathrow
On February 8, 2021, Border Force officers discovered two pallet-loads of cannabis within a shipment of computer casing at Heathrow airport.
The drugs, valued at £1 million, had been flown from Canada and were due to be delivered to a business address in Dartford.
However, the drugs were seized as part of an investigation by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate.
Detectives were able to link the shipment of drugs to members of a criminal network that had been arranging the importation of cannabis over an illegally-encrypted mobile phone platform.
The platform was cracked by international law enforcement agencies in the spring of 2020.
Four offenders were all involved in the conspiracy were sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court in April 2023.
Kuran Gill, of Sun Marsh Way in Gravesend, organised the importation and onward distribution of the cannabis and additionally facilitated the sale of a kilogram of cocaine.
Police officers seized £105,000 in cash from his home address after the 32-year-old was arrested on April 21, 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.
Gregory Blacklock, of Buckland Hill in Maidstone, was the director of the Dartford business where the cannabis that had been discovered at Heathrow was due to be delivered.
The 32-year-old pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import a class B drug and was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.
Govind Bahia, of Tennyson Walk in Gravesend, assisted Gill with advice and direction on the type and quantity of cannabis to purchase.
The 30-year-old pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import a class B drug and was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.
Jag Singh, of The Boulevard in 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.
The 32-year-old pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import a class B drug and was jailed for four years and nine months.
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Investigating officer Detective Constable Steve Brown of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: “The cracking of the EncroChat mobile phone platform has led to countless criminals being caught red-handed and brought to justice.
“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.
“Crime does not pay and I am satisfied that those involved in this particular conspiracy are now behind bars where they belong.”