Baljinder Kang, 32 from Tilbury and his right-hand man Sukhjinder Pooney, 34 from Gravesend, are accused of being the heads of a criminal organisation that supplied class A drugs and laundered millions of pounds in illicit profits. The gang was brought to an end by a joint NCA and Metropolitan Police Organised Crime Partnership.
The criminal organisation used encrypted smartphones as well as a succession of unregistered ‘burner’ phones to run the gang and avoid detection.
Members of the crime group trafficked millions of pounds worth of illegal drugs across England. The proceeds were then deposited in cash into front company bank accounts, before being transferred to a destination account in Dubai.
During the course of the investigation, officers seized more than £1.4million in cash, with at least £1.8 million more known to have been laundered by the criminal network.
The OCP operation resulted in the seizure of over 37kgs of Class A drugs – including heroin and cocaine with a street level value of over £3.5m – a handgun with ammunition, and 50kgs of ketamine.
Kang, who was arrested in January 2018, had been living a lavish lifestyle, despite having very little legitimate income, purchasing designer goods, leasing high-performance cars and travelling regularly to the United Arab Emirates.
At Kingston Crown Court Pooney was found guilty of conspiracy to supply class A drugs having previously pleaded guilty to money laundering offences.
One of Pooney’s cash couriers, Kieran O’Kane, was also found guilty of money laundering, while Webster Kenton and Abid Rasul were convicted of conspiracy to supply class B drugs – Rasul in his absence having absconded while on bail.
Baljinder Kang pleaded guilty to all charges against him last month as did money launderers Amir Ali and Aminoor Ahmed.
Two Huddersfield men, Hummaad Khadim, 32, and Omer Sattar, 25, also pleaded guilty to money laundering.
John Coles, NCA head of Specialist Operations, said: “This investigation has systematically broken up a significant criminal organisation which operated across the south east, west midlands and into the north of England.
“The drugs that Kang and Pooney’s group trafficked will have contributed to violence and exploitation along the supply chain, while their extensive money laundering operation exploited the UK banking system to move money offshore.”
Detective Superintendent Simon Moring from MPS Central Specialist Crime, added: “This was a lengthy and thorough operation involving extensive joint work between a dedicated team of Met and NCA staff – all of who are committed to dismantling organised criminal gangs.
“I hope that today’s result is a stark reminder to those involved in organised criminal activity that the Organised Crime Partnership is far reaching and will use all powers available to us to secure a conviction.”
Sentencing is to take place on July 24.