14 Jun 2019
Members of a drug trafficking group that laundered their illicit proceeds in banks throughout England are facing prison sentences following convictions announced Wednesday by the UK National Crime Agency (NCA).
The group made millions of pounds selling heroin, cocaine and ketamine across the country and laundered the cash through bank accounts opened for fake companies before ultimately sending the funds to a bank in Dubai, according to the NCA, which conducted the investigation with Metropolitan Police.
Law enforcement officials seized more than £1.4 million in cash and identified at least £1.8 million more that had been placed in various bank branches, the agency said.
Bajinder Kang of Tilbury, who led the group until his arrest in December 2018, pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and money laundering charges in May, the NCA said. Kang’s “lieutenant,” Sukhjinder Pooney of Gravesend, was found guilty of drug trafficking on Tuesday after previously pleading guilty to money laundering charges.
At Pooney’s direction, gang member Kieran O’Kane opened a sham account at a Barclays branch under the name Layton Commodities Ltd while Aminoor Ahmed set up a second account under the name Lushman Solutions Ltd after providing false financial records in an attempt to legitimize the funds, the NCA said.
Following their arrests, O’Kane pleaded guilty to drug possession and was found guilty of money laundering and Ahmed and four other group members admitted to laundering drug proceeds.
“The drugs that Kang and Pooney’s group trafficked will have contributed to violence and exploitation along the supply chain, while their extensive money laundering operation exploited the UK banking system to move money offshore,” John Coles, NCA head of Specialist Operations, said in a statement.
“The threat from organised crime continues to grow, and there are many more groups in the UK engaged in similar activity to this group,” said Coles.
Sentencing hearings are slated for 24 July at Kingston Crown Court.
Advance your CPD minutes for this content, by signing up and using the CPD WalletFREE CPD Wallet