Four members of an organised crime group who smuggled cannabis worth around £1 million into the UK from Canada have been jailed.
Kuran Gill, Jag Singh, Gregory Blacklock and Govind Bahia, all in their early 30s, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import the class B drug.
Their offence was discovered when Border Force officers found two pallet-loads of cannabis within a shipment of computer casing at Heathrow Airport in February 2021.
An investigation by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate revealed that the drugs had been flown from Canada and were due to be delivered to a business address in Dartford in Kent.
Detectives established a link between the shipment and a criminal network which had been arranging the import of cannabis over an illegally-encrypted mobile phone platform.
Gill was arrested in April 2021 and a cash haul of £105,000 was seized from his home in Sun Marsh Way, Gravesend.
Woolwich Crown Court heard that he had organised the import and onward distribution of the cannabis and also facilitated the sale of a kilogram of cocaine.
Singh, of southwest London, who was also involved in organising the import and distribution of the cannabis, used the chat handle of ‘Real Crocodile’ to discuss the concealment of the drugs and their trafficking.
Blacklock, of Buckland Hill, Maidstone, was the director of the Dartford business where the cannabis discovered at Heathrow was supposed to be delivered.
Bahia, 30, of Tennyson Walk, Gravesend, advised Gill on the type and quantity of cannabis to purchase.
Gill has been sentenced to seven years of imprisonment and Singh to four years and nine months, while Blacklock and Bahia are jailed for three years each.
Detective Constable Steve Brown of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, who investigated the case, said after the sentencing that the cracking of the EncroChat mobile phone platform led to criminals being caught red-handed and brought to justice.