Six men, including one Enderby resident, have been convicted for their part in a large scale drugs operation across Leicestershire and West Yorkshire.
Four defendants admitted their involvement in the supply of Class A drugs, with two being found guilty after a trial at Leicester Crown Court.
Those who pleaded guilty are:
- Francesco Dimola, 32, of Packhorse Lane, Enderby, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs (cocaine) between October and November 2016
- Christopher Smith, 32, of Gainsborough Road, Leicester, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs (cocaine) between October and November 2016
- Daniel Witheridge, 30, of Woodthorpe Road, Loughborough, pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis and possession with intent to supply class A drugs (cocaine).
- Rishi Karir, 32, of Oak Road, Littlethorpe, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs (cocaine).
And the two found guilty after a trial are:
- Jonathon Lightbrown, 29, of Blaby Road, Wigston, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply class A drugs (cocaine) between October and November 2016
- Jason Gooch, 41, of Crown Flatt Way, Dewsbury, has been found guilty of conspiracy to supply class A drugs (cocaine) between October and November 2016
The investigation was carried out by the East Midlands Special Operations Unit and involved tracking the movements of the defendants through Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) and analysis of phone data after their arrests to see who was in contact with who.
As part of the operation, it was established that a large amount of high purity cocaine was delivered into Leicestershire, thought to be worth between £640,000 and £1.6m.
Lightbrown was arrested on 22 November last year and was found to have 2kg cocaine in the car he was driving.
Officers carrying out covert observations on him saw an exchange between him and Gooch in the car park of a fast food restaurant at Meridian Leisure Park in Leicester.
The court heard that this was an exchange between the two defendants – money for the drugs.
Karir had been seen delivering the same bag to the address of Lightbrown earlier that morning, containing around £25,000.
ANPR work has shown Gooch, who lived in Dewsbury, travelled to Leicester that day to deliver the cocaine.
This was found to be just one of a number of trips Gooch made to Leicester over the previous months to deliver large quantities of drugs.
Phone data has proven that extensive contact was made between all the defendants.
Home addresses of the defendants were searched, drugs, drugs paraphernalia and items related to the preparation of drugs were seized.
Investigator Matthew Ridley said:
“This has been a lengthy investigation into the supply of drugs in Leicester and is something that we take incredibly seriously; we want to take drugs off the streets of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.”
They will all be sentenced at Leicester Crown Court at a date yet to be set.
- Marcus Hinds, 35, of Pipistrelle Way, Oadby, Leicester, charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs (cocaine and crack cocaine) between October and November 2016 was found not guilty, after a trial, of all charges.