Gang jailed for laundering £1m in cocaine and ketamine cash

|News, International and organised crime , Drug offences

Eleven men have been sentenced to a total of more than 65 years between them for their roles laundering £1m in drug money over a six-month period including a sale of 50kg of ketamine.

Baljinder Kang, 31, lived a luxurious lifestyle, spending money at Gucci, Ralph Lauren, and Harrods, wearing designer watches, driving expensive cars and traveling regularly to the United Arab Emirates. He was arrested on his way to Gatwick airport to travel to Dubai.

Sukhjinder Pooney, 34, also helped run the organised crime group.

They laundered the cash through ‘sham’ companies before sending the funds to a bank account in Dubai in the UAE.

Kang and Pooney regularly changed phones to avoid detection. A drugs ledger was found on Kang’s bedside table detailing the sales and purchases of kilo quantities of drugs. He travelled to Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Wigan, to arrange sales of drugs.

Kieran O’Kane, Amir Ali and Aminoor Ahmed had an active role in the operation; setting up limited companies in Slough and bank accounts, collecting and depositing vast amounts of money in circumstances where they could not have failed to appreciate that the money was criminal.

They were sentenced today (26 July 2019) at Kingston Crown Court after a series of trials and guilty pleas.

Giorgina Venturella, of the CPS, said: “Baljinder Kang had a number of criminal associates who performed the hands-on work.

"He sought to keep himself as far as possible from the physical handover of drugs and money, and the laundering of the funds. He used several mobile phones at one time, relying on ‘throwaway’ phones when planning criminal activity.

“He sometimes took a more direct role, communicating and meeting with others to facilitate the handover of large sums of criminal money.

"Money launderer Sukhjinder Pooney, directed the actions of Amir Ali, Aminoor Ahmed and Kieran O’Kane.

“There were multiple strands to the conspiracy but the prosecution was able to prove each of these men knew they were part of a criminal endeavour."

Notes to editors

  • Giorgina Venturella is a Specialist Prosecutor in the CPS Organised Crime Division
  • SENTENCES:
    • Baljinder Kang (DOB: 09/04/1987) of Albany Road, Tilbury, admitted in the fifth week of his May 2019 trial, conspiracy to supply cocaine, conspiracy to supply ketamine, and to conspiracy to launder money. Sentenced to 18 years in total
    • Sukhjnder Pooney (DOB: 28/11/1984) of Cutmore Street, Gravesend admitted conspiracy to launder money on 5 April 2019, and was convicted after trial on 11 June of conspiracy to supply cocaine. Sentenced to 16 years in total
    • Kieran O’Kane (DOB: 1/07/1993) of Gravesend, was convicted after trial on 11 June of conspiracy to launder money. Sentenced to four years
    • Aminoor Ahmed (4/8/1997) of Gravesend, admitted conspiracy to launder money in the fifth week of his trial in May 2019. Sentenced to five years
    • Amir Ali (14/02/1994) of Gravesend, admitted conspiracy to launder money in the fifth week of his trial in May 2019. He was responsible for banking £269,380. Sentenced to four years and six months
    • Webster Kenton (10/07/1994) and Abad Rasul (16/04/1997) were convicted of conspiracy to supply 50 kilograms of ketamine on 11 June. Rasul in his absence after fleeing to Islamabad before his trial. Sentenced to seven and six years respectively
  • Eight others pleaded guilty earlier to related offences:
    • Dinesh Nadesan (15/7/1990) admitted money laundering on 5 April before his trial relating to a meeting in Pizza Hut in Croydon and £250,000 handed over the next day. Sentenced to three years
    • Chandra Suppu (18/11/1972) admitted money laundering at the PTPH on 6 November 2018 relating to £250,000 to Ahmed on 15 November 2017. Sentenced to 24 months' imprisonment (suspended for 2 years) and 180 hours community service
    • Omer Sattar (18/04/1994) of Huddersfield, and Humaad Khadim (12/7/1986) admitted money laundering at the PTPH on 6 November 2018 relating to a handover of £100,000 to Amir Ali on 19 October 2017. Khadim also admitted dangerous driving while fleeing police on 19 October 2017. 18 months' imprisonment (suspended for 2 years) and 200 hours community service each, with further conditions and disqualification from driving for two years for Khadim
    • Aaron Chander (13/8/1991) of Wolverhampton, admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine, possession of cocaine with intent to supply, a S 329 POCA offence and firearms offence. He was sentenced to a total of 17 years and 2 months
    • Baljinder Bassi (4/12/1981) of Wolverhampton, admitted possession of heroin with intent to supply, possession of cocaine with intent to supply, and a S327 POCA offence. He was sentenced to a total of 13 years’ imprisonment
    • Ferass Awwad (28/10/1990) admitted possession of cocaine with intent to supply and was sentenced to 63 months' imprisonment
    • Abda Salah (23/9/1986) admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine and was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment.

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