"We will continue to deal robustly with those who seek to supply drugs"
Two men have admitted to conspiracy to supply class A drugs. This follows one of the largest ever land seizures of cocaine in the UK.
Birmingham Crown Court heard that Baldev Singh Sahota, aged 53, of Oldbury, and Shakti Gupta, aged 34, of Quinton, Birmingham, were arrested after officers discovered a huge stash of Class A drugs.
Detectives from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command led the operation, which had been targeting a sophisticated drug supply chain.
The drugs were worth more than £20 million after officers stopped a van and searched a property in Birmingham on December 11, 2019.
Police carried out an intelligence-led stop of the van on the A45. They found 168 kilograms of cocaine concealed among pallets of frozen food.
Sahota had been driving the van and was arrested at the scene.
Officers then searched an address at an industrial estate in the Hockley area of Birmingham.
A further four kilograms of cocaine and MDMA, as well as one kilogram of cutting agent, used to dilute drugs. At the property, Gupta was arrested.
On January 9, 2020, the two men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
Police believed that the drugs were intended for supply on the streets of London.
In a statement, Detective Superintendent Neil Ballard, of the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said:
“This operation has resulted in one of the largest land seizures of cocaine within the UK.
“It is a significant find which demonstrates the scale of this organised drug supply operation which the Met has successfully dismantled.
“The audacity of those involved and the lack of consideration for the impact of their criminality is clear.
“We have continually stated there is an inextricable link between the supply of drugs and the violence we have seen unfolding on the streets of London.
“The distribution of this cocaine would have no doubt had a devastating impact on our communities.”
“We will continue to deal robustly with those who seek to supply drugs, exploit young people and target the most vulnerable within our city for the sole purpose of financial gain – often instigating violent acts and placing young people at risk of harm and criminalisation in the process.
“This should send a clear message to anyone involved in this type of organised criminality that we will not only go after those directly supplying drugs to our communities, but we will use all the powers available to us to dismantle the wider networks and cut off the source of supply.
“We work closely with other units across the Met and key partners including the NCA, Regional Organised Crime Units and County Forces to tackle serious and organised criminality.
“We will continue to target the supply of drugs and reduce the harm they are causing to the communities of London and beyond.
“I’m grateful to our colleagues from West Midlands Police who supported the Met in this operation and prosecution.”
Birmingham Mail reported that Sahota and Gupta will be sentenced on February 7, 2020.