Five men jailed for over 66 years for their part in EncroChat cocaine dealing network across Bucks and beyond
and live on Freeview channel 276
Following a major investigation by Thames Valley Police’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit, the five men have today (8/7) been sentenced for their crimes which involved the use of EncroChat to deal drugs.
Mohammed Ali, aged 50, of Chervil, Milton Keynes, Bucks, and Patrick Gray, aged 44, of Radford Close, Oxford, were found guilty of conspiring to supply cocaine following a trial at Oxford Crown Court, which concluded on 2 February this year.
Lewis Court, aged 37, of Cuddesdon Way, Oxford, Richard Gray, aged 33, of Barley Court, Witney, and William White, aged 36, of no fixed abode, had earlier pleaded guilty to the same offence.
Returning to the same court today, the following sentences were handed down:
Richard Gray, sentenced to 21 years’ imprisonment
Patrick Gray sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment
Bucks man Ali sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment
Court sentenced to seven years and eight months’ imprisonment
White sentenced to seven years and eight months’ imprisonment
Between 31 March 2020 and 26 May 2021, the defendants conspired with persons unknown to supply large quantities of drugs across the Thames Valley and Wiltshire.
Operation Sedate was an investigation launched into the organised crime group (OCG) run by Richard and Patrick Gray, following intelligence received that the brothers were involved in the supply of class A drugs.
This was because Thames Valley Police received an Operation Venetic package for the ‘Encro handle’ Cheetahsoda, which was attributed to Richard Gray.
Operation Venetic is the UK law enforcement response to the takedown of encrypted communications platform EncroChat.
The investigation that followed identified that Richard Gray and others travelled to Lancashire to purchase drugs.
These controlled substances were then returned to Oxfordshire where they were stored at the home addresses of other members of the OCG and at a rural farm location.
While at these locations, the drugs were prepared to be sold on to customers across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Wiltshire.
Following the execution of warrants in May 2021, more than 2.8kg of cocaine and 18.3 grams of crack cocaine were recovered, along with cash totalling more than £158,000.
As a result of the warrants, the six men were charged on 27 May 2021.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Gavin Toney, of the Serious Organised Crime Unit, said: “The sentences passed down to these men today marks the end of a significant intelligence-led investigation following information received from the National Crime Agency.
“This was a very significant drug supply network, and those convicted brought large quantities of class A drugs into the Thames Valley with the intention of flooding the area with them.
“Following the execution of a series of warrants on 26 May 2021, officers located quantities of these drugs along with large sums of cash.
“I would like to pay tribute to all of our officers and staff, and our partners at the Crown Prosecution Service and the NCA for their support in securing these convictions and sentences.
“As a result of this successful partnership work, six members of this OCG will now spend significant spells in prison as a result.
“We will never tolerate the production and supply of drugs in our communities.
“They cause untold harm, particularly to those who are vulnerable, and tackling this type of criminality remains one of Thames Valley Police’s top priorities.
“Five major figures involved in the supply of class A drugs have now been brought to justice, and they will be unable to bring harm to our communities for many years to come.
“Our Stronghold team will proactively and robustly pursue and prosecute offenders, and our activity will be both visible and covert to ensure that the harm brought into our communities by organised crime groups is removed.
“I would like to reassure our communities that we will continue to tackle drug supply and will continue to bring offenders before the courts where they belong.
“I would also urge anybody who has information about drug supply and production to get in touch with police.
“You can do so in the strictest confidence, either by calling 101, or by reporting anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”