Essex drug gang supplying crack cocaine jailed

Shotgun and drugs seized in Operation Kelpie

Shotgun and drugs seized in Operation Kelpie - Credit: Archant

A criminal gang supplying crack cocaine has been jailed for a total of 42 years.

Aaron Ellwood, 24, of Greenwell Road, Witham

Aaron Ellwood, 24, of Greenwell Road, Witham - Credit: Archant

Eight members of the organised network, including three from north Essex, were sentenced at Basildon Crown Court yesterday.

All of them had pleaded guilty last month to being involved in the supply of class A drugs and conversion of a shotgun.

The men were arrested and charged by detectives from the Trident and Area Crime Command from the Metropolitan Police following an intelligence-led operation named Operation Kelpie.

Aaron Ellwood, 24, of Greenwell Road, Witham, who was given eight years’ jail for possession of a firearm with intent to cause others to fear violence, possession of a prohibited weapon and conspiracy to supply crack cocaine.

Lewis Marsh, 18, of Orchard Drive, Frinton

Lewis Marsh, 18, of Orchard Drive, Frinton - Credit: Archant


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Lewis Marsh, 18, of Orchard Drive, Frinton, was sentenced to three years and three months for possession of a prohibited weapon and conspiracy to supply crack cocaine.

Jake Turton, 18, of Peake Avenue, Kirby Cross was given a two years’ suspended prison sentence for conspiracy to supply crack cocaine.

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Operation Kelpie saw detectives raid premises in Brentwood, purportedly used by a car hire company, last September.

During a search officers found the sawn stock of a shotgun along with a number of items for the shortening of a shotgun including oil, files, wire wool and rubber gloves.

Jake Turton, 18, of Peake Avenue, Kirby Cross

Jake Turton, 18, of Peake Avenue, Kirby Cross - Credit: Archant

They also recovered £2,600 in cash and two canisters of CS gas, while CCTV seized during the investigation showed the conversion of the sawn-off shotgun at the unit and clearly pictured Ellwood, Marsh and others with the shotgun earlier that day.

Later searches also revealed a loaded sawn-off single-barrelled shotgun and 19 shotgun cartridges hidden in the roof-space of an adjoining car port.

Eight of the gang were arrested between September and November and quantities of class A drugs, cash, phones, electronic scales, drugs ledgers and packaging were recovered.

A ninth man was arrested in April this year, while police say a 24-year-old man remains outstanding.

The other men jailed were

• Ugar Kuckukiravul, 30, a Turkish national living in Brentwood was sentenced to five years for possession of a firearm with intent to cause others to fear violence and possession of a prohibited weapon.

• Nikhal Shastri, 22, from Ilford was sentenced to 11 years for possession of a firearm with intent to cause others to fear violence, possession of a prohibited weapon and conspiracy to supply crack cocaine.

• Amaan Rob, 25, of Manor Park was sentenced to five years for possession of a firearm with intent to cause others to fear violence and possession of a prohibited weapon.

• Jorden Hegg, 18, of Romford was sentenced to three years and three months for conspiracy to supply crack cocaine.

• Nigel Hammond, 29, of Chigwell was sentenced to four years and six months for supplying crack cocaine.

A ninth man, Stephen Hirst, 44, of Brentwood, will be sentenced in September.

Detective Inspector Steve Meechan, from the Metropolitan Police Trident Gang Command, said: “These convictions are part of a complex ongoing operation by Trident officers – assisted by Essex Police – to target organised criminal networks that are using firearms to enforce their drug trafficking activity.

“We have a zero tolerance approach to firearm-enabled criminality, gang crime and drug supply.

“Trident Gang Crime Command will continue to work with our partners, to disrupt such criminality and aim to convict those who perpetrate it.

“The substantial custodial sentences handed down by the court should act as a significant deterrent to those involved in these criminal gangs.”

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