James Thacker and Laura Hibberd successfully prosecute OCG that flooded London market with substantial quantities of drugs and used EncroChat

News | Mon 18th Oct, 2021

An Organised Crime Group (OCG) operated across London to deliver over 90 different types of drugs during 2020 until their arrest on 22nd February 2021. Upon warrants being executed at various premises in London and a storage unit, almost £2 million of drug stock were found by police which demonstrated the scale of the operation.

The principal member of this OCG, Tiago De-Lima, was charged with conspiracy to supply various types of Class A and Class B drugs (including cocaine, MDMA, cannabis and amphetamine) along with Vanessa Ananias (VA) the ‘manager’ of the group, and three couriers who drove mopeds to deliver their wares which were carefully labelled in their identical pink rucksacks. The couriers initially disputed the extent of their knowledge of the scale of the operation and the level of their involvement, but on the first day of their Newton Hearing accepted the Crown’s case.

The court had to determine each defendant’s culpability and harm. HHJ Perrins, sitting at Southwark Crown Court, accepted James Thacker and Laura Hibberd’s submissions for the Crown, that De-Lima’s sentence had to start in excess of the Sentencing Guidelines due the substantial quantity of drugs found and his role in a wholesale operation using the Encrochat platform. He was sentenced to 24 years, reduced to 18 to account to reflect his guilty pleas.

The manager, VA, was sentenced to 11 years, reduced to 6 years to reflect her guilty pleas and mitigation. The three couriers were each sentenced to 8 years, reduced to 4 ½ years to reflect their guilty pleas and mitigation. Another co-conspirator, the bookkeeper, awaits sentence in November following a change in her plea days before her trial.

James Thacker and Laura Hibberd were instructed by CPS London South.

To read more on this case, please click here.

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