Two local men jailed for cocaine conspiracy

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Two men from Maplebeck and Farnsfield are among 11 people to have been given prison sentences totalling 70 years for conspiring to supply cocaine in the region.

They were charged over their involvement in the conspiracy, which involved the importation and distribution of high-purity cocaine.

The conspiracy was headed Ilir Vogli, an Albanian national living in the West Midlands, and his second-in-command Graham Hurry. They, along with two associates, Martin Brannigan and Vogli’s brother-in-law Bernard Hopson, formed a regional supply link with Jason Wood, a convicted armed robber from Hilton, Derbyshire.

The East Midlands Special Operations Unit – Serious and Organised Crime (EMSOU-SOC) launched Operation Solute to investigate the conspiracy in April 2012.

During the course the following two months, police intercepted three deliveries of cocaine being made by the West Midlands group. Examinations showed the drug had a purity level of 81%.

It was estimated in court that, based on the likely number of deliveries of the drug made by the West Midlands group to Wood’s group over the period of the conspiracy, which dated back to 2009, and by ‘cutting’ it with other substances to prepare it for sale the drugs could have had a total street value of more than £1m.

The investigation found that Wood distributed the drug in and around the East Midlands with the help of Derby taxi driver Khurrum Shezad, Matthew Andrew, from Maplebeck, near Newark, and Daniel Atkinson, from Farnsfield, in Nottinghamshire.

Vogli laundered much of the money he made from the sale of the drug by sending it to associates and relatives in his homeland, and also in Italy. Martin Brannigan was found in possession of completed Moneygrams used to transfer the cash overseas on behalf of Vogli, when he was arrested in May 2012.

Financial investigation work found a total of 55 cash transactions totalling more than £125,000 were made by Vogli or others on his behalf to associates abroad.

Three other people, including Hopson’s partner Jade Docherty, Martin Brannigan’s brother Kevin and Wesley Craddock were also charged with the conspirators because they had also transferred cash overseas for Vogli.

All 11 had earlier pleaded guilty to the charges against them at hearings at Derby Crown Court. They were sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court on Wednesday (27 November).

Matthew Andrew (25), of Clay Barn, Maplebeck, near Newark, was charged with conspiracy to supply a controlled drug of class A, namely Cocaine and dangerous driving. He was sentenced to seven years and four months in prison.

Daniel Atkinson (24), of Far Back Lane, Farnsfield, Nottinghamshire, was charged with conspiracy to supply a controlled drug of class A, namely Cocaine.

He was sentenced to five years and four months in prison.

Deputy Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Sergeant Harry Rai, said: “This was a complex investigation given the sheer number of individuals involved. In simple terms, Vogli used willing associates both here and abroad to help him initiate a high-purity cocaine supply ring and to transfer the cash he made from the operation out of the country.

“Once EMSOU launched its investigation it soon became clear that the two organised crime groups involved had a geographic reach that virtually extended across the whole of the Midlands, from West to East.”

He added: “I’d like to thank colleagues in EMSOU-SOC, Derbyshire Police, the West Midlands and the Crown Prosecution Service for the successful investigation, enforcement and prosecution of this case, which has resulted in significant prison sentences for some very determined criminals from right across the region.”