Gang sent to prison for smuggling cannabis from Canada to the UK
Clockwise from top left – Kuran Gill, Jag Singh, Govind Bahia and
Gregory Blacklock (Image by Kent Police)
Members of an organised crime group who smuggled drugs into the UK have been jailed for a total of over 17 years.
Border Force officers discovered two pallet-loads of cannabis within a shipment of computer casing at Heathrow Airport on Monday, 8 February, 2021.
The drugs, which were valued at around £1 million, had been flown across from Canada and were due to be delivered to a business address in Dartford. Instead they were seized as part of an investigation by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate.
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.
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 cash from his home address following his arrest on Wednesday, 21 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.
Gregory Blacklock, 32, of Buckland Hill, Maidstone, was the director of the Dartford business where the cannabis discovered at Heathrow was due to be delivered. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import a class B drug and was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.
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.
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.”