Men jailed for total of 30 years ordered to repay thousands of pounds gained through criminal activity
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Three men jailed for their part in an operation supplying cocaine in south Staffordshire have been ordered to repay around £60,000 following a court hearing.
Following Proceeds of Crime Act hearings at Stafford Crown Court Christopher Jones, who ran the operation, was ordered to pay £10,491. Ramandeep Singh was ordered to pay £43,508. Harpreet Johal was told to pay £7,060.
Jones, aged 34, formerly of Cheshire Grove, Perton, and also known as Ricky Bates, was jailed in November 2019 for 18.5 years for drugs and firearms offences.
Ramandeep Singh, 37, formerly of Stafford Road, Wolverhampton, was sentenced to six years for conspiracy to supply cocaine and five months concurrent for conspiracy to supply gamma-butyrolactone.
Harpreet Johal, 51, formerly of Duckhouse Road, Wolverhampton, was sentenced to five years three months for conspiracy to supply cocaine. Johal and Singh were jailed in September 2019.
Jones’s arrest led to a Staffordshire Police investigation resulting in the conviction of another five men for drugs offences.
Jones, who used other aliases including Michael Smith, was initially arrested on 29 December 2015 and a search of his property in Moatbrook Lane, Codsall, took place.
Officers seized two firearms from the address - a double-barrelled shotgun and a sawn-off shotgun – as well as 1.33kg of amphetamine, 22.9kg of benzocaine (a recognised cocaine cutting agent), 8.775 litres of gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), and digital scales containing traces of cocaine.
A further 25kg package of benzocaine being shipped to Jones from Hong Kong was also intercepted by the UK Border Force at Coventry Airport.
One of the firearms recovered – a Sauer ‘side by side’ double-barrelled shotgun – was stolen in a burglary at a farm in Cocknage, near Stoke-on-Trent in June 2014.
The court heard that Jones was later spotted driving a Vauxhall Insignia near his home in Perton, south Staffordshire on 9 October 2017.
A police officer spotted Jones leaving his car and reaching behind a cable box in Roundway Down, Perton. Jones attempted to get away but was detained and his vehicle and home address in Cheshire Grove were searched where cocaine, bundles of cash and digital scales were recovered.
Detectives worked to piece together evidence from phone records, searches and interviews leading to the arrest of Ramandeep Singh, described as Jones’s ‘relief manager’ and street dealers Harpreet Johal, and three others.
Jones, who enjoyed an expensive lifestyle including first-class trips to Dubai, entered multiple guilty pleas at Stafford Crown Court in May 2019 for offences including conspiracy to supply cocaine, conspiracy to supply Gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), possess a shotgun without certificate, possess self-loading / pump action smooth bore gun, and conspiracy to import a firearm.
The court heard the three had benefitted to a total of around £220,000 from their crimes.
Detective Inspector Kerry Skingle, of Staffordshire Police’s specialist investigations team, said: "This case is proof we will continue to gather evidence and use the Proceeds of Crime Act to confiscate any property or monies made through crime.
"This is a complex case going back to 2015, but the tenacity and persistence of detectives has ensured we are still able to confiscate assets gained through criminal activity."