Criminals behind multi-million pound Essex drugs ring are jailed
- Credit: Essex Police
The ringleader of a multi-million pound Essex drugs ring who enjoyed a champagne lifestyle has been jailed along with his girlfriend and two associates.
Abdul Hamid ran the 'Tariq' drug line selling cocaine mainly in Chelmsford, Maldon, Heybridge and the Dengie Peninsula.
Hamid, his girlfriend Danielle Stevenson-Roberts and associates Murshed Uddin and Lloyd Bridge were jailed at Chelmsford Crown Court today.
During the investigation, officers discovered the drugs line was prolific and operated around 20 hours every day - potentially making millions of pounds in profit.
Those profits were laundered through five businesses Hamid and Stevenson-Roberts ran in Maldon, including two restaurants and a tanning salon.
The pair also used the money from their crimes to pay for properties and cars, including land in Tenerife and cars including Mercedes saloons and a Rolls-Royce.
Officers also suspected they were smuggling cash in their luggage during frequent visits to Tenerife.
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As a result, the pair were detained by Border Force officials at Stansted Airport on August 18, 2019, and were found to have £29,000 in their luggage.
When questioned about the cash, they claimed it was for a wedding, some was from their businesses, and some from the sale of cars. The cash was seized.
The next day, Hamid failed to stop for police in the The Street, Latchingdon.
He crashed into two cars in an attempt to evade police and mounted a pavement where pedestrians were walking. He was stopped, arrested and charged with a string of driving offences.
Following an extensive investigation, Hamid and Stevenson-Roberts were arrested in February 2020, along with Uddin and Bridge, who helped run the drugs line.
Andrew Lay, a drugs courier for the Tariq line, was also arrested the following month.
All five were charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine. Hamid, Stevenson-Roberts, Uddin and Bridge were also charged with concealing criminal property.
Hamid and Uddin were found with mobile phones in prison while they were on remand and were also each charged with offences relating to electronic transmission devices in prison.
All five defendants pleaded guilty to the offences they were charged with at hearings in September last year, and were sentenced today.
Hamid, 34, formerly of Sassoon Way, Maldon, was jailed for 18 years.
Stevenson-Roberts, 35, formerly of Church Street, Goldhanger, was jailed for eight years.
Uddin, 24, formerly of Mundon Road, Maldon, was jailed for seven years and three months, and Bridge, 32, of Brownbaker Court, Neath Hill, Milton Keynes, was jailed for five years and two months.
Lay, 37, of Victoria Road, Maldon, was sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday, April 16 to two years in prison, suspended for two years.
Detective Chief Inspector Steve Nelson said: “Hamid was the head of an organised crime group, who directed a network of street dealers selling cocaine in mid Essex.
“The drugs sales were prolific, and potentially made millions of pounds while the drugs line was operating between January 2017 and February 2020.
“Stevenson-Roberts then used legitimate businesses, as well as a fake one, to launder the cash.
“When Hamid was remanded in custody in August 2019 for driving offences, Uddin and Bridge stepped up from being couriers to manage the drugs line.
“But we dismantled their criminal enterprise and they and Uddin are now paying the price for their crimes.
"We have secured legal restraints on the sale or movement of property and more than £300,000 in cash in the UK and Spain.
"We have also seized several luxury cars from Hamid and Stevenson-Roberts. These will all be subject of a proceeds of crime hearing in due course.
“The judge commended the work of the investigative team in this case, which is testimony to their tenacity and efforts to bring these criminals to justice."