"He used several mobile phones at one time, relying on 'throwaway' phones"
Seven members of a crime group were jailed on July 26, 2019, for supplying Class A drugs across England and laundering millions of pounds from their drug dealing.
Kingston Crown Court heard they transferred at least £1.8 million in illicit profits offshore through bogus company bank accounts.
Baljinder Kang, aged 31, of Tilbury, led the organisation while enjoying a luxury lifestyle.
Sukhjinder Pooney, aged 34, of Gravesend, acted as Kang’s right-hand man and helped to run the operation.
The criminal organisation was dismantled following a joint investigation by the National Crime Agency and Metropolitan Police Organised Crime Partnership (OCP).
They uncovered how Kang and Pooney used encrypted smartphones as well as several unregistered “burner” phones to direct the group.
The crime group trafficked millions of pounds worth of illegal drugs across the UK.
The cash was then laundered through fake companies before being transferred to an account in Dubai.
Officers seized over £1.4 million in cash over the course of the investigation. A further £1.8 million was known to have been laundered.
Over 37 kilograms of Class A drugs including heroin and cocaine with a street value of over £3.5 million was seized. A loaded handgun and 50 kilograms of ketamine were also recovered.
Officers found ledgers containing details of the sales and purchases of drugs at Kang’s home after he was first arrested in January 2018.
Despite having very little legitimate income. Kang owned luxury goods.
He purchased items from designer shops including Gucci, Ralph Lauren and Harrods and owned watches worth £12,000 and £36,000.
Kang also drove expensive cars and travelled regularly to the United Arab Emirates.
On June 11, 2019, Pooney was convicted of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs having previously pleaded guilty to money laundering.
Kieran O’Kane was one of Pooney’s cash couriers and was also found guilty of money laundering.
Webster Kenton and Abid Rasul were both found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class B drugs. Rasul was convicted in his absence after he absconded while on bail.
Kang admitted all of the charges against him on May 23, 2019. Money launderers Amir Ali and Aminoor Ahmed did the same.
On July 26, 2019, the eight men were sentenced. Baljinder Kang was jailed for 18 years while Sukhjinder Pooney received 16 years in prison.
Kieran O’Kane was sentenced to four years in prison. Aminoor Ahmed was jailed for five years.
Amir Ali was jailed for four years and six months. Webster Kenton was handed seven years in prison.
Kent Online reported that Abid Rasul was sentenced to six years in his absence.
Giorgina Venturella, of the CPS, said: “Baljinder Kang had a number of criminal associates who performed the hands-on work.
“He sought to keep himself as far as possible from the physical handover of drugs and money, and the laundering of the funds.
“He used several mobile phones at one time, relying on ‘throwaway’ phones when planning criminal activity.
“He sometimes took a more direct role, communicating and meeting with others to facilitate the handover of large sums of criminal money.
“Money launderer Sukhjinder Pooney directed the actions of Amir Ali, Aminoor Ahmed and Kieran O’Kane.”
“There were multiple strands to the conspiracy but the prosecution was able to prove each of these men knew they were part of a criminal endeavour.”
John Coles, NCA head of Specialist Operations, explained:
“This investigation has systematically broken up a significant criminal organisation which operated across the South-East, West Midlands and into the North of England.
“The drugs that Kang and Pooney’s group trafficked will have contributed to violence and exploitation along the supply chain, while their extensive money laundering operation exploited the UK banking system to move money offshore.
“The threat from organised crime continues to grow, and there are many more groups in the UK engaged in similar activity to this group.
“The NCA and its policing partners are using all the means at our disposal to identify and disrupt them.”