Operation RANK

Drug Supply East Anglia

15 members of drugs network jailed for 68 years

Fifteen members of a drugs network involved in supplying cocaine, amphetamines and cannabis in the eastern region have been jailed for a total of 68 years.

Detectives from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) seized drugs, cash and a gun in a series of investigations spanning Essex, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and north London.

The final six men were jailed for a total of 20 years and four months for their roles in the conspiracy at St Albans Crown Court on Monday (12 September).

It began with a warrant in Chelmsford, Essex, in May last year, in which officers seized 15kg of cocaine, 1.5kg of cannabis, 4kg of ketamine and cash. That warrant linked a number of men from Essex and north Cambridgeshire into the supply of drugs. Six men were jailed for a total of 32 years and four months earlier this year for their role in that supply chain (details below).

- Dean Leonard, 50, of Thorpe Road, Frinton-on-sea, Essex, six years after pleading guilty to possession with intent to supply cocaine
- Michael Coughlin, 34, of Broadway, Yaxley, nine years for possession of cocaine with intent to supply, possession of a firearm and ammunition. He admitted both charges.
- Gary Brace, 58, of Hart Road, Essex, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply class B drugs. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison.
- Danny Crook, 31, of Mapledene Road, Hackney, London, was jailed for 26 months after admitting possession with intent to supply cocaine and supplying amphetamine.
- Lee Dunn Snr, 56, from Clacton , Essex, was jailed for three years and eight months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply amphetamine.
- Lee Dunn Jnr, 36, from Bushey, Hertfordshire, was jailed for nine years after admitting conspiracy to supply cocaine.
Both of the Dunns were on day release from prison when they committed the offences.

ERSOU then set their sights on another group who had been linked to the defendants in the initial case.

A covert investigation was launched and identified several men who were couriers or buyers from the initial gang.

Police seized 20kg of the class B drug amphetamines worth £250,000, in a number of seizures.

In total a further six men were convicted of conspiracy to supply controlled drugs. Two men, Ray Cracknell and Paul Faley were convicted following a trial, the other four pleaded guilty. They were sentenced at St Albans Crown Court today (Friday) to the following:

- Stephen Leonard, 52, of Rosemary Avenue, Enfield, was sentenced to five years and eight months
- Darren Armani, 45, of Ordnance Road, Enfield, was jailed for four years and eight months
- Paul Faley, 61, of Bells Hill, Barnet, was sentenced to three years and six months
- Ray Cracknell, 48, of Sherriff’s Court, Newmarket, was jailed for five years
- Andrew Stevenson, 48, of Malden Close, Cambridge, was sentenced to 10 months
- John Atkinson, 51, of Beaconsfield Avenue, Epping, Essex, was given an eight month sentence

Judge Stephen Warner described the case as a ‘professional, sophisticated conspiracy’.

Finally, in February officers seized 109kg of cannabis from storage containers in Poplar, London, and from the boot of an Audi stopped in Bethnal Green on the same day.

Three men were linked to the drugs and were convicted of conspiracy to supply class B drugs following a trial at St Albans Crown Court. They were jailed on Friday, 2 September.

- Anthony Barry, 48, of Garland Road, Ware, Herts, was jailed for eight years
- Akbar Eslamifar, 64, of Wellington Way, London was sentenced to four years
- Peter Bryan, 48, of Fallow Rise, Herford, Herts, was sentenced to four years

Detective Inspector Geoff Knight said: “Drugs devastate communities and we will continue to investigate, disrupt and prosecute anyone involved in the use and supply.

“This case clearly shows that we will continue to investigate any associate of those involved in such criminality to ensure we dismantle every aspect of a supply chain.

“This should send a strong message to anyone involved in the supply of controlled drugs that ERSOU will come after you and put you before the courts.”

Convicted

Dean Leonard

Dean Leonard

6 years

Michael Coughlin

Michael Coughlin

9 years

Gary Brace

Gary Brace

30 months

Danny Crook

Danny Crook

26 months

Lee Dunn Snr

Lee Dunn Snr

3 yrs 8 months

Lee Dunn Jnr

Lee Dunn Jnr

9 years

Stephen Leonard

Stephen Leonard

5 years 8 months

Darren Armani

Darren Armani

4 yrs 8 months

Paul Faley

Paul Faley

3 yrs 6 months

Ray Cracknell

Ray Cracknell

5 years

Andrew Stevenson

Andrew Stevenson

10 months

John Atkinson

John Atkinson

8 months

Anthony Barry

Anthony Barry

8 years

Akbar Eslamifar

Akbar Eslamifar

4 years

Peter Bryan

Peter Bryan

4 years

Operations