A drug-smuggling gang has been jailed after officers found £1million worth of cannabis hidden in computer casings.
The drugs had been flown from Canada to Heathrow, and were due to be delivered to a business address in Dartford when they were discovered at the airport on Monday, February 8, 2021.
Detectives linked the shipment to members of a criminal network who had been using an illegally-encrypted mobile phone platform, which international law enforcement agencies had cracked in the spring of 2020, to arrange the importation of cannabis.
Kuran Gill, 32, of Sun Marsh Way, Gravesend, organised the importation and onward distribution of the cannabis, as well as facilitating the sale of a kilogram of cocaine.
Officers seized around £105,000 cash from his home address following his arrest on Wednesday, 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, 32, of Buckland Hill, Maidstone, was the director of the Dartford business where the cannabis was due to be delivered.
He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import a class B drug and was sentences 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.
Jag Singh, 32, of The Boulevard in south-west London, was also involved in organising the important and distribution of the cannabis.
He used the chat handle “Real Crocodile” to exchange 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.
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.”