A narcotics gang involved in cocaine sales and money laundering has been sentenced to more than 88 years in jail. This organised crime group (OGC) operated in Wales and used digital currency to disguise the revenues of their narcotics transactions.

before a remarkable event, twelve people pled guilty to various crimes ranging from drug dealing to money laundering before Cardiff Crown Court. Joshua Billingham, 26, and Amir Khan, 30, were among those who admitted to conspiracy to distribute class A narcotics, possession with intent to supply class C drugs, and money laundering.

Four other Caerphilly males were also involved in the drug-supply operation. Meanwhile, Caerphilly residents Matthew Dean, 35, and Joshua Collins, 26, were found guilty of conspiracy to provide class A drugs and money laundering. Stacey Challenger, 29, Sami Rehman, 28, and Sidra Khan, 27, guilty to money laundering, while Caitlin de Jager, 24, of Cardiff, admitted to both money laundering and involvement in the sale of class A drugs.

Gwent Police led the investigation, known as Operation Solana, which lasted two years and involved Dyfed Powys Police, South Wales Police, West Midlands Police, the regional and organised crime unit (ROCU), and the National Crime Agency.

Detective Constable Michael Coles, who oversaw the investigation, praised the sentences as the outcome of careful work to dismantle the criminal organisation. He revealed that the gang worked in a hierarchical structure, acquiring big amounts of cocaine and relied on close colleagues to distribute it across south and mid Wales. Joshua Billingham and Amir Khan took on the lead management position, cleverly laundering the drug money by involving friends and relatives and putting it into cryptocurrency accounts in their names.

To store, mix, and deliver the drugs, the organisation cleverly employed stash homes and industrial buildings. They were able to provide almost 40 kilogrammes of cocaine worth about £4,600,000 to dealers throughout Wales. Furthermore, the OCG’s cryptocurrency accounts handled more than £3,000,000, making it one of the first cases in Gwent of cryptocurrencies being used for money laundering.

Detective Constable Coles lauded the efforts of the cybercrime team, which successfully tracked down the money and led to the conviction of these individuals. He also expressed gratitude to partner agencies for their combined efforts, emphasising that law enforcement will not only prosecute drug suppliers, but also those who aid and abet illegal acts, including concealing illicit cash gains.

This landmark case serves as a stern warning and deterrent to others contemplating involvement in organized crime. Law enforcement agencies are committed to cracking down on such illegal activities and will work relentlessly with their partners to gather intelligence and build strong cases against criminals.