Crime & the Law

Four members of gang smuggling cocaine in lorry batteries jailed at Southwark Crown Court

Four members of a drug smuggling ring responsible for the bringing into the UK millions pounds worth of heroin and cocaine have been jailed for more than 47 years.

Gareth Ellis from Westcliff-on-Sea (Essex) pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court to conspiracy to import and conspiracy to supply class A drugs (cocaine and heroin) and has been jailed for nine years.

Gareth Ellis. Image: Met Police.

Gareth Ellis has been jailed for nine years. Image: Met Police.

Graham Ellis from Westcliff-on-Sea (Essex) has been jailed for 20 years for conspiracy to import and conspiracy to supply class A drugs (cocaine and heroin) and possession of criminal property (£50,000 seized from a safe at a property he rented).

M237-2014 Graham Ellis

Graham Ellis has been jailed for 20 years. Image: Met Police.

A charge of possession of a disguised firearm (a stun gun disguised as an iPhone) was ordered to remain on file by the court.

Gary Malone from Wokingham (Berkshire) has been sentenced to 12 years for conspiracy to import and supply class A drugs (cocaine and heroin).

Gary Malone has been sentenced to 12 years in jail. Image: Met Police.

Gary Malone has been sentenced to 12 years in jail. Image: Met Police.

Graham Ellis and Gary Malone pleaded not guilty but following a 14-day trial at Southwark Crown Court they were found guilty.

Previously Ian Hall from Wigan was sentenced to six years eight months imprisonment at St Albans Crown Court in July 2014 after pleading guilty to possession with intent to supply class A drugs.

Ian Hall was sentenced to six years and eight months. Image: Met Police.

The court heard officers from the Met’s Organised Crime Command launched an investigation into Southend-based haulage firm El-Trans run by Graham Ellis, and his son Gareth Ellis.

Gary Malone was employed as a lorry driver for the firm.

The investigation revealed that the haulage business was a cover for the importation of cocaine and heroin which was then passed on to organised criminal groups.

Last July Hall was stopped by police on the M1 and found to be in possession of 9 kilos of heroin and 3 kilos of cocaine.

Malone was stopped at the Dartford Crossing after arriving back into the UK via Dover.

He was hiding 14 kilos of high purity cocaine within the lorry, disguised as batteries.

The drugs were found disguised as batteries powering the lorry. Image: Met Police.

The drugs were found disguised as batteries powering the lorry. Image: Met Police.

Graham and Gareth Ellis were both arrested in the early hours of 11th July at their home addresses.

A rented industrial unit in Rawreth (Essex) containing a number of high value motor vehicles was searched and almost £50,000 cash was found in a safe under the floorboards.

Racing car worth 120,000 Euros

A 120,000 euros worth racing car belonging to Graham Ellis was found. Image: Met Police.

As a result of the operation police recovered a total of 26 kilos of high grade cocaine and heroin with a street value of £3.5 million.

Drugs recovered after the investigation. Image: Met Police.

Drugs recovered after the investigation. Image: Met Police.

Money was found in a safe under the floorboard. Image: Met Police.

Money was found in a safe under the floorboard. Image: Met Police.

A financial investigation is ongoing to identify and seize the gang’s assets.

Detective Constable Steve Masterson, from the Organised Crime Command, who was commended by the trial judge for his investigation, said:

These three individuals thought that they had found a foolproof way of smuggling millions of pounds of cocaine and heroin into the country. They were very wrong. These significant sentences should act as a warning to those who would seek to smuggle class A drugs into the UK. The MPS will use all its experience to pursue you and ensure you face justice.

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