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Courier gang who ran drugs delivery operation jailed following investigation by specialist detectives

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Courier gang who ran drugs delivery operation jailed following investigation by specialist detectives

A drugs gang who wore courier uniforms and identical pink backpacks to deliver drugs by moped across the capital have been jailed for a total of 37 and a half years.

- Tiago Thomaz De-Lima, 31, (30.04.90), of Liberty Court, W10 received 18 years

- Vanessa Ananias, 29, (25.11.91), St Marys Road, NW10 received six years

- Andressa Santos, 25, (01.03.96), Marcia Road SE1, received four and a half years, 

- Nayara Robeiro, 33, (20.10.87), Boileau Road W5 received four and a half years

- Nayene Fernandez-Silva, 25, (08.10.96), of St Marys Road received four and a half years yesterday, 14 October. 

They were all sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday, 14 October having pleaded guilty at the same court on 7 May.

Larissy Nascimento, another member of the gang, is due to be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on Friday, 19 November.

Each member of the group pleaded guilty to charges of three counts of Conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, four counts of Conspiracy to supply Class B drugs and Conspiracy to possess or acquire proceeds of criminal property.

Tiago, the gang leader, used the highly encrypted chat service Encrochat to facilitate wholesale purchases involving multiple kilos of Class A drugs including cocaine, MDMA and crystal meth. De-Lima had been telling other users that he can "sell anything I touch” and shared price lists for drugs and pictures of the goods on offer.

The group had a clear operating structure, with De-Lima acting as supplier by buying the drugs in bulk via Encrochat, and Santos, Robeiro, Ananias, and Fernandez-Silva acting as distributors. Nascimento acted partly as a bookkeeper, documenting transactions and providing breakdowns of earnings for two of the ‘Teams’.

The drivers were required to wear a courier uniform to blend in and wore distinctive pink backpacks, each with a ‘team’ number written on (1, 2, 3 and 4), and a different coloured wallet inside with the driver’s name on.

When all six suspects were arrested on 22 February at an address in Cromwell Road, SW7, officers found tables inside the address covered in multiple packages of a wide variety of controlled drugs on display. The street-deal amounts of drugs were lined up and clearly marked for distribution.

Police seized 133 drug exhibits from the address on Cromwell Road, which was being used by the gang as a distribution centre. Forensic enquiries conducted on the substances seized confirmed them as MDMA, Ketamine, Cocaine and Chloromethcathinone (known as 4-CMC) as well as other controlled and prescription substances. The group had recently moved the massive stash from another property in Pembridge Road, W11.

Police also raided De-Lima’s home in Kensington and Chelsea as well as a storage unit in Alperton and seized a commercial pill press, a cash counter, and large boxes of packaging including ziplock bags.

Across the three locations police seized a total of 4kg of cocaine, 8kg of MDMA, 7kg of Methamphetamine, 3kg of Amphetamine, 1kg of Chloromethcathione, 18kg of Cannabis. Also seized was 2,493 doses of LSD, multiple bags of Magic Mushrooms, sacks of cannabis sweets, prescriptions drugs, and £54,000 cash. Evidence of their commercial operation came in the form of a cash counter, commercial pill press, and documented supply lists. Using their pricing lists their stock was valued at nearly £2million.

Police also seized a number of phones, many of which was using messaging app Signal which was set to auto-delete messages every 6 hours. Police who examined the phone immediately after seizing it found that it showed a number of messages about Class A drugs which were due for delivery.

DC James Hughes from the Specialist Crime Unit said: “We know that violence we see in London’s streets is inextricably linked to drugs such as the ones that De-Lima and his colleagues were distributing across London. The meticulous investigative work carried out by my team which unravelled this case of highly organised criminals demonstrates the detective capabilities of the Met and shows our commitment to taking these controlled substances off London’s streets.

“We hope that today’s result sends a clear message to those involved in illicit activities that the Met does not welcome this kind of enterprise in London, and our Specialist Crime Units will work determinedly to dismantle organised crime groups such as this.”

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