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Hampshire takes out OCG after biggest-ever cocaine seizure

Members of an organised crime group are beginning jail sentences totalling 30 years after £6.6m of cocaine was seized.

Detectives with Hampshire Constabulary's organised crime group are celebrating after making the largest single seizure of cocaine ever in the force’s history.

Three men have been jailed for more than 30 years after a surveillance operation led to the break up of a gang that is believed to have been distributing £1.5m of drugs across the UK each week.

A jury heard how a pro-active stop of a vehicle driven by Jason Stanley on 2 October 2019 started a chain of discoveries. Inside the car, officers found four kilograms of cocaine.

The stop was the beginning of an operation that had been planned based on careful surveillance.

Officers then raided a lockup at Clamp Farm, Newtown, where a further 68kgs of cocaine and 25kg of amphetamine were found in specially modified vans.

The gang were also prepared to protect their haul as officers also found a handgun, silencer, and 50 rounds of ammunition.

The items were located in a vehicle within the compound which had been concealed in a purpose-built hide.

A search of another property yielded more drugs and an encrypted mobile phone.

The operation had also been helped by mistakes made by the gang. A modified van used to distribute cocaine was seized by Portsmouth City Council for parking on double yellow lines.

The courier was charged and further investigations uncovered the extent of the network.

DNA and fingerprint evidence linked Stanley directly to the drugs and site where they were found, along with CCTV evidence.

 At Portsmouth Crown Court, Lee Matthews, 37, was sentenced to 15 years and three months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A and Class B drugs. 

Jason Jay Stanley, 20, was sentenced to seven years and six months for conspiracy to supply Class A and Class B drugs after entering a guilty plea.

Robert David Hey, 41, was sentenced to seven years and six months for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs after entering a guilty plea.

Detective Constable Edward Wiggans said: “This investigation, led by Hampshire Constabulary’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit has identified just one of the tiers of a large scale Organised Crime Group. 

 “These people were likely to have been promised lavish lifestyles and financial security for their families. They now face lengthy prison sentences, taking them away from their families.”

He added that the Hampshire team had now set its sights on the major suppliers that had been working with the gang.

“Those at the top of this OCG will continue to make promises, and Hampshire Constabulary will continue to investigate and take action against criminals,” he said.

Forensic evidence was critical in ensuring the convictions.

CPS Wessex Senior Crown Prosecutor, Andrew Gubbels, said: “We worked with Hampshire Constabulary to ensure we had all the evidence we needed to prosecute these people and present a compelling case based on an extensive examination of mobile phone data and messages.   

“This included evidence from encrypted mobile phones and DNA evidence linking Stanley and Matthews to the storage and ‘cutting’ of drugs. 

"We also had evidence demonstrating that Hey was instrumental in arranging the installation of hides and the couriering of drugs all over the UK, not just within the Hampshire region. The weight of this evidence meant that they had no choice but to plead guilty.”  

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