Cops crush international drug ring with £ 1million stash of cocaine
Cops have broken down a huge international drug ring – after gang members were found with a shipment of cocaine worth around £ 1million.
Four prolific traffickers, all from Latvia, have been jailed for a total of 50 years after selling drugs in the UK, Eastern Europe and America.
Their stash of cocaine and another £ 200,000 worth of cannabis and ecstasy were discovered as part of an investigation by the West Midlands Regional Organized Crime Unit (ROCU).
Even a global pandemic “was no deterrent” in their plans to import and export drugs across continents, police said.
Following a large-scale operation, a BMW was pulled over by Humberside Police in Grimsby last October and the drugs were found hidden in two scabbards.
Two gang members – Ilja Palionnijs and Egons Semjonovs – were already under police surveillance and CCTV showed them putting the bags full of drugs in the car outside a hotel where they were staying in the city.
BMW driver Igor Gridin and passenger Aleksej Sagamogas were then arrested shortly after, and the four were arrested and subsequently charged with possession with intent to supply drugs.
The cops found a backpack in the vehicle with packing materials and receipts, they showed items weighing several kilos had been transported to other parts of the world. This included two packages intercepted in America that contained drugs.
Leader Palionnijs’ phone text messages showed he was leading the drug trade across continents.
The four men were jailed for almost 50 years combined at Great Grimsby Crown Court today, September 8.
It was the culmination of a combined operation led by West Midlands ROCU, with the National Crime Agency, Europol, the US Department of Homeland Security and the Latvian Organized Crime Division.
Detective Inspector Dave Hollies, of West Midlands ROCU, said: “This was a significant drug network and the global pandemic was not a deterrent in their carefully crafted import and export plans to across the continents.
“It is through the combined efforts of police forces and other law enforcement agencies around the world that we have been able to locate and bring down this network.
“We not only took a shipment of drugs off the road, but we also stopped this gang from trading. Drugs can not only cost lives, but lead to other crimes, and there will be no slack in our work to tackle those involved in their illegal supply. ”
Palionnijs, 31, was jailed for 14 years and four months; Semjonovs, 29, was jailed for 10 years and six months; Gridin, 36, was jailed for 12 years and three months and Sagamogas, 31, was jailed for 10 years and six months.
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