Father and son Crawley drug network smashed

Photo: Sussex Police

A criminal network that distributed cocaine and heroin in Crawley, led by father and son ice cream van operators, was completely dismantled by a complex Sussex Police investigation and has now resulted in prison sentences totalling nearly 50 years for the pair and six other men.

The force’s Serious Organised Crime Unit investigation, codenamed Operation Relic, targeted Lubhaia Ram, his son Surinder Kumar, (left and right in main photos) and their associates over the supply of cocaine and heroin in 2017 and 2018.

Following their arrests and a series of trials, prison sentences were handed to the eight defendants in April this year.

The following five men were sentenced at Brighton Crown Court on 14 April.

Surinder Kumar, 39, of Imberhorne Lane, East Grinstead, was sentenced to five years, to run consecutively to an eleven year sentence he is already serving after a separate case, for conspiracy to supply and supplying Class A drugs, imposed at Kingston Crown Court on 10 May 2019.

His father, Lubhaia Ram, 60, of Lingfield Drive, Worth, Crawley, was sentenced to seven years, plus four years on subsequent extended prison licence:

Wayne Mather, 51, of Brighton Road, Crawley, was sentenced to six years and nine months.

Jamie Yardley, 31, of Kennet Close, Crawley, was sentenced to eight years and three months:

Ferit Dajcaj, 34, of Harrier Rd, Colindale, London NW9, was sentenced to three years and ten months.

See photos of Mather, Yardley and Dajcaj (left to right).
Photo: Sussex Police

The following three men were sentenced at Brighton Crown Court on 28 April.

Jordan Lacey, 30, of Sullivan Drive, Crawley, was given a total sentence of eight years, five months, including six years and nine months for conspiracy to supply cocaine, 18 months for possession of cocaine with intent to supply, and two months for obstructing police;

Joshua Erikson, 27, of Goffs Park Rd, Crawley, was given a total sentence of seven years and three months, comprising seven years for conspiracy to supply cocaine, and three months for offering to supply alprazolam:

Aaron Dolding, 36, of Foxglove Drive, Forge Wood, Crawley, was sentenced to four years and six months for conspiracy to supply cocaine.

See photos of Lacey, Erickson and Dolding (left to right).
Photo: Sussex Police

Detective Constable Steve Wood said: “This was a high-intensity operation over several months, based on intelligence and using surveillance to develop evidence of the connections between the defendants.”

Complex telecommunications analysis by police experts revealed that the conspirators were in high frequency contact with each other using mobile phones during the conspiracy period. Some defendants used multiple mobile numbers at the same time as well as changing numbers frequently.

See these extracts from some of the police and CCTV footage which helped provide evidence of the conspiracy, showing:
– Wayne Mather meeting with Surinder Kumar in a car outside Mather’s address on the evening of 17 August 2018:
– Mather in his black Jaguar dropping Lubhaia Ram off at a pub near Gatwick, and Ram in the pub, just a couple of hours before Mather was arrested with drugs on the same day:
– Police body worn video of Lacey’s address in Downland Drive being searched on 23 August 2018, including a bag containing cocaine which Lacey had been seen to flush down a toilet on police arrival, plus drugs and a drug line phone found in his bedroom.

Kumar was identified as a multi-kilo supplier of cocaine who supplied to Yardley and others in up to half a kilo quantities at a time.

Yardley in turn supplied up to quarter kilo quantities of cocaine at a time to Lacey.

Lacey also used Joshua Erikson to break down and bag up the cocaine for onward supply in multi-ounce to half-gram deals, using people including Aaron Dolding as ‘drugs runners’ to supply customers in Crawley at street level.

All of this was facilitated by the use of dedicated mobile phone drug lines under the control of Lacey, through which multi-kilos of cocaine were supplied over the conspiracy period.

Lubhaia Ram, who is the father of Surinder Kumar was a multi-kilo supplier of cocaine and also heroin.

Father and son operated together at times, using money and resources to further their own drug supply businesses. Hoeever they did not usetheir ice creams in any sdale or distribution of of drugs.

Ram used Wayne Mather to store, bag up and supply drugs to customers and collect and transport money.

A supplier behind part of the conspiracy in Sussex was Ferit Dajcaj, a self-employed decorator from Colindale, north-west London, who acted as a courier for unknown people, supplying cocaine to via Yardley and taking delivery of money from him.

During the investigation police seized cocaine with an estimated street value of up to £112,000, and heroin with an estimated value of £25,000, as well as other drugs and £91,000 cash.

And the investigation is not yet complete as several of the defendants now face further court hearings for potential confiscation of assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).

Chief Inspector Shane Baker, District Commander for Crawley and Mid-Sussex said; “Conspiracies such as this bring nothing but misery and disruption to communities. We continue to disrupt and bring to justice anyone seeking to engage in the distribution of illegal drugs.”

To report suspicions or information about illegal drug dealing activity, contact the police on 101 or online.

Courtesy of Sussex Police

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