A Chesterfield drugs ring who were manufacturing and moving drugs across the country have been jailed.
Ten men have been sentenced to a total of more than 32 years following a complex investigation by Derbyshire Constabulary’s specialist crime unit, assisted by Lancashire Constabulary’s serious and organised crime group.
Operation Ingham was an investigation into organised immigration crime and conspiracy to produce cannabis. The case is focused on an organised crime group (OCG) who were based in Chesterfield.
Officers uncovered a sophisticated and well-organised criminal enterprise with well-defined roles of operations, logistics, production and distribution. Although the OCG was centred in Chesterfield, the production was found to be more than 70 miles away in Blackburn, Lancashire. The distribution of the drugs reached as far away as Glasgow in Scotland.
Eight defendants were sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court during December for offences relating to the production and supply of cannabis between September 2014 and April 2016.
Neil Hardy (55) of Nether Croft Road, Brimington, Chesterfield received five years and six months for conspiracy to produce cannabis.
Tam Van Le (25), who lived on Dowdeswell Street, Chesterfield was sentenced to eight years imprisonment for conspiracy to produce cannabis.
Ha Quang Vo (30) of Lynwood Road, Blackburn received three and a half years imprisonment for conspiracy to produce cannabis.
Thong Dinh Vuong (50), who was living on Pottery Lane East, Chesterfield was handed a four year sentence of imprisonment for conspiracy to produce cannabis.
Vinh Ha (22), who lived at Winchester Street, Blackburn was sentenced to two years eight months imprisonment for conspiracy to produce cannabis.
Tuan Nguyen (22), who also lived on Pottery Lane, Chesterfield was imprisoned for 23 months for conspiracy to produce cannabis.
Anh Quoc Nguyen (22) of Irving Place, Blackburn, Lancashire received a one year ten month sentence for conspiracy to produce cannabis.
Thanh Tran (18) of Warwick St, Haslingden, Lancashire was sent to a youth offenders’ institution for 18 months for conspiracy to produce cannabis.
Hoa Quoc Tran (28) of Blackburn, Lancashire was convicted and sentenced, at Preston Crown Court in February this year, to two years imprisonment for the production of cannabis and abstracting electricity
Wen Wang (30) who lived in Glasgow, Scotland was convicted and sentenced, at Leeds Crown Court in June this year, to 18 months imprisonment for possession with intent to supply cannabis.
The investigation began in September 2015 following a routine traffic stop in Glossop in the early hours of the morning.
Following a lengthy covert investigation coordinated strikes were carried out in Blackburn and Chesterfield by specially trained officers on April 26 this year.
More than £500,000 worth of cannabis was recovered, made up of 22 kilos of harvested cannabis and more than 2,000 plants.
During the investigation a 17-year-old and two 16-year-old children from the Far East were rescued from alleged slavery and were placed within a national referral scheme for their safety.
Derbyshire’s Chief Constable Mick Creedon said: “These convictions come at the end of a complicated and lengthy investigation and demonstrate how we will pursue and prosecute those seeking to profit from their organised crime.
“The public don’t necessarily see the harm this criminality causes and nor do they see the officers and staff involved in these long-term intelligence gathering and covert investigations. Nevertheless, this is an essential part of modern policing and we remain resolute that we will carry out such investigations and attack criminality at all levels.”
The Home Office will work to deport those defendants who are foreign nationals once they have served their sentences.