"Conspiracies such as this bring nothing but misery"
A father and son who ran an ice cream business together have been jailed for running a “complex” drugs operation.
Lubhaia Ram and Surinder Kumar supplied cocaine and heroin.
But after a major investigation by Sussex Police, their illicit operation was busted.
Officers began investigating them and several of their associates between 2017 and 2018. Using telecommunications data, they managed to link the gang and their drugs operation together.
Police used several key moments to build up evidence.
On August 17, 2018, Wayne Mather met Kumar outside his home.
Mather then dropped Ram off at a pub near Gatwick just a couple of hours before Ram was arrested on suspicion of drug offences.
A few days later, Jordan Lacey had his home searched.
Officers found a bag containing cocaine. More drugs and a drug line phone were found in his bedroom.
Police concluded that Kumar acted as a “multi-kilo” cocaine supplier, providing Jamie Yardley with up to half a kilo of cocaine at a time.
Yardley in turn supplied up to quarter kilo quantities of cocaine at a time to Lacey.
Lacey also used Joshua Erikson to break down and bag up the cocaine to supply it. He used people including Aaron Dolding as ‘drugs runners’ to supply customers in Crawley at street level.
All of this was facilitated by the use of a dedicated mobile phone drug line under the control of Lacey, through which multi-kilos of cocaine were supplied over the conspiracy period.
Police say Ram was also a “multi-kilo” cocaine supplier.
The father and son worked together, pooling their money and resources to increase their own drug supply business.
There was no evidence that their ice cream business was used to peddle drugs.
A supplier behind part of the conspiracy in Sussex was Ferit Dajcaj. He acted as a courier for unknown people, supplying cocaine to via Yardley and taking delivery of money from him.
During the investigation, police seized £112,000 worth of cocaine, £25,000 worth of heroin and £91,000 in cash.
At Brighton Crown Court, the eight people involved were sentenced. This includes:
- Surinder Kumar, aged 39, of East Grinstead, was jailed for five years, to run consecutively to an 11-year sentence he is already serving after a separate case, for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, imposed at Kingston Crown Court on 10 May 2019.
- Lubhaia Ram, aged 60, of Crawley, was jailed for seven years, plus four years on an extended prison licence.
- Wayne Mather, aged 51, of Crawley, was jailed for six years and nine months.
- Jamie Yardley, aged 31, of Crawley, was jailed for eight years and three months.
- Ferit Dajcaj, aged 34, of London, was jailed for three years and ten months.
- Jordan Lacey, aged 30, of Crawley, was jailed for eight years and five months.
- Joshua Erikson, aged 27, of Crawley, was jailed for seven years and three months.
- Aaron Dolding, aged 36, of Crawley, was jailed for four years and six months.
Detective Constable Steve Wood said: “This was a high-intensity operation over several months, based on intelligence and using surveillance to develop evidence of the connections between the defendants.”
Several of the defendants now face further court hearings for potential confiscation of assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).
Chief Inspector Shane Baker, District Commander for Crawley and Mid-Sussex said:
“Conspiracies such as this bring nothing but misery and disruption to communities.
“We continue to disrupt and bring to justice anyone seeking to engage in the distribution of illegal drugs.”