Shakti Gupta, 34, from Birmingham and Baldev Singh Sahota, 54, from Oldbury in West Midlan (Courtesy: Met Police)
Eastern Eye Staff
TWO British-Indian men have been sentenced to a total of 34 years in “one of the Met’s biggest drugs busts” worth over £20 million.
Shakti Gupta, 34, from Birmingham, and Baldev Singh Sahota, 54, from Oldbury in West Midlands, were jailed for 18 years and 16 years, respectively, following a haul of 172 kg of cocaine, one of the largest land seizures of Class A or illegal drugs in the country.
“This operation has resulted in one of the largest land seizures of cocaine within the UK, ever,” said Detective Superintendent Neil Ballard, from the Metropolitan Police Specialist Crime Command.
“It is an extremely significant amount of Class A drugs that indicates the scale of this organised drug supply, which the Met has successfully dismantled,” he said.
On December 11 last year, a team of the Met’s Specialist Crime officers, supported by West Midlands Police, carried out a stop of a vehicle on the A45 highway, which was being driven by Sahota.
On inspection of the van, officers discovered a large quantity of Class A drugs (cocaine) had been mixed among pallets of frozen food. The total weight of the cocaine discovered was 168kg.
A further search was carried out at an address in Olds Trading Estate Park in Hockley, Birmingham, the same day. A further 4kg of Class A drugs (cocaine and MDMA) and kg of cutting agent were discovered inside the address. Gupta was arrested following the second raid and both men were taken into custody within the West Midlands Police jurisdiction.
They were charged with conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, namely cocaine and appeared at Birmingham Crown Court in January this year, where they pleaded guilty to the offence. The duo were sentenced at the same court earlier this month.
“This sentencing result is due to the hard work and commitment from those involved in dismantling drugs networks that are intrinsically linked to the violence that we have seen playing out on our streets throughout the country,” said Ballard.
“This result should serve as a stark warning to anyone involved in the supply of drugs in London and the rest of the UK that we will do everything we legitimately can to bring you to justice,” he said.
“The Met will continue to work with, and assist, our colleagues in other forces around the country, who are all dedicated to removing the drugs from our streets and reducing the serious violence associated with drugs supply, to protect the public,” he added.
The Met Police released the details of the case this week as part of an appeal for information on anyone suspected of similar criminal activity.