Former Breaston & Sandiacre men among 22-strong gang jailed on drugs charges

Published on: Sunday, 12th September 2021

Two former borough men have been jailed for their part in a 22-strong gang which distributed more than £20 million-worth of high purity illegal drugs around the country over the course of 12 months.

The gang have collectively been sentenced to more than 200 years behind bars.

Sold on the street, the drugs were worth up to £60 million.  Major enforcement across eight counties in two days in February 2019 brought the illicit operation – which was being coordinated out of Leicestershire, with main stash sites and supply routes in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and the West Midlands — to an abrupt end.

At Leicester Crown Court from Monday 6th to Friday 10th September, 11 people were sentenced for their involvement.  They follow 11 others, who were sentenced previously..

In 2017, an investigation was launched by the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU) with action then taken to seize drugs in Nottingham, Derby, Staffordshire and the West Midlands including amphetamines, some of which were found among ice cream in a fridge.  Other drugs included cannabis and a rare and potent anabolic steroid hexadrone as well as cocaine and the powerful sedative ketamine, which was kept in boxes marked as shoes.

The investigation identified that the organised crime group handled more than a tonne of Class A and B drugs throughout 2017.

Among the group sentenced within the past week was Adam Ellis Dooley, aged 42 and formerly of Wilsthorpe Road in Breaston.  He was found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A and Class B drugs, following a trial in April.  He previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to fraudulently evade the prohibition on the importation of goods, conspiracy to produce Class C drugs and conspiracy to supply Class C drugs.  He was jailed for 20 years.

Also sentenced was Laurence James Smith, aged 32 and formerly of York Avenue in Sandiacre.  He had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class B drugs and was subsequently jailed for three years, one month.

The importation and onward distribution of the drugs was arranged in a Leicester property by a local man, but Dooley is reported to have been one of a group who helped prepare and distribute large quantities of illicit substances across the country, whilst Smith was one of a group of runners.

The gang also had links into a storage site in Slough and the EMSOU team found further reach into other towns and cities across the country, including Leeds, London, Middlesbrough and March in Cambridgeshire, as well as up to Edinburgh.

Enquiries made by EMSOU on this investigation also led to the uncovering of a separate six-year conspiracy involving Dooley as well another gang member to supply steroids, between 2013 and 2019.

Detective Inspector Harry Rai, who was the Senior Investigating Officer, said: “This gang had a profitable enterprise going, bringing a tonne of dangerous drugs into the UK.  They showed no care for the incredible damage this sort of criminality causes, rather used it to line their own pockets – on the face of it, benefitting by tens of millions of pounds – and bolster their reputation. 

D.I Rai, speaking about other members of the gang, also said that Dooley worked with others to flood countless communities with millions of pounds-worth of deadly drugs. 

He continued: “This investigation has been a massive undertaking for EMSOU, supported by the National Crime Agency and Border Force, not just in terms of the scale of resources involved, but also in that we were able to take out the whole illicit operation – from the ones at the top pulling the strings to bring the drugs into the country, to those on the streets supplying the final product, and everything in between.

“I’d like to sincerely thank all those at EMSOU who have contributed a sustained effort into this lengthy investigation, as well as those in the forces who supported us in our enquiries and during the arrest phase.

“This investigation has been far-reaching not only with the seizure of a massive amount of controlled drugs destined for all corners of the country, but also in that it has attracted significant sentences for those responsible. All this goes a long way to preventing further damage to our communities.

“The war against drugs may be long-fought, but this is another battle won by law enforcement in our quest to keep harmful substances, and the violence they perpetuate, off our streets."

Efforts to identify and seize money or other assets gained from the crimes are underway under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

A part of the gang were sentenced over the Summer whilst another group faced a trial and subsequent sentencing at the end of 2019 and into 2020, with members coming from both the West and East Midlands including parts of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

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