Source: United Kingdom London Metropolitan Police
Two men who were part of a gang producing drugs and laundering money have been sentenced following a proactive investigation by the Met’s Specialist Operations Crime Disruption Unit.
The operation brought to an end the illegal activities of a four-man organised criminal gang who were involved in producing class A drugs, supplying class A and B drugs, money laundering and possession of counterfeit currency.
Paul El-Shahar, 42 (19.11.1978) of no fixed abode and Mark Richard Ryan, 35 (23.10.1985) of Shrewsbury Street, Kensington and Chelsea, appeared at Southwark Crown Court on Monday, 14 December.
El-Shahar, was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment, having previously been convicted of conspiracy to supply class A drugs, conspiracy to produce class A drugs, money laundering and possession of counterfeit currency. Ryan was sentenced to eleven years and six months for the same offences.
The criminal gang’s activity first came to officers’ attention during the investigation of a separate and unrelated matter. A separate investigation was subsequently launched in April 2019 with officers focusing on suspected illegal activity being carried out from a storage facility in Slough.
On 4 April 2019, officers carried out a search at the facility and arrested Ryan and El-Shahar as well as Andrew Nugent, 32 (26.06.1987) of Chelmsford Close, Hammersmith and Fulham. All three were suspected of producing and supplying class A drugs at the site.
When they searched the facility, detectives found £82,940 in counterfeit cash, class A and B drugs with a street value of approximately £1 million, machinery and equipment used in the production of class A drugs, £15,000 in cash as well as rounds of live ammunition.
The three men were subsequently charged with the above offences, but during the continuing investigation, another man was identified as being involved – Adam John Gale, 44 (25.04.1975) of Cleverly Estate, Hammersmith and Fulham.
Detectives found that Gale had left the UK on the same day they carried out the search at the facility in Slough. Officers obtained a European Arrest Warrant for Gale and he was subsequently located and arrested in Spain, before being extradited back to the UK, where he was arrested and charged on 6 August 2019.
Nugent and Gale were sentenced on Tuesday, 31 March 2020 at Southwark Crown Court. Nugent received 15 years and 10 months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to possession with intent to supply class A and class B drugs, production of class A drugs, money laundering and possession of ammunition. He was also found guilty of possession of £82,940 of counterfeit currency.
Gale received 14 years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to possession with intent to supply class A and class B drugs, production of class A drugs, possession of £82,940 of counterfeit currency and money laundering.