1. ITV Report

£6m drugs gang jailed

Some of the drugs that were recovered Photo: Kent Police

Members of an organised drugs ring who were supplying cocaine across the Canterbury and South Coast area have been jailed today. The gang of nine people, who all live in the Kent area, were arrested following an intelligence led policing operation by officers from The Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate. During the course of the investigation, drugs with a potential street value of £6m were taken off the streets. When tested some of the cocaine was found to be 94% pure. Officers also found a large quantity of Benzocaine, a common missing agent and the class C drug TFMPP.

Some of the drugs seized by police Credit: Kent Police

The following defendants all admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine:

  • Angela McColl (52) of Prospect Road, Broadstairs

  • Lee Phillips (30) of Priorless Road, Canterbury

  • Daniel Bridge (27) of Carlton Avenue, Broadstairs

  • Daniel D’Age (28) of St Georges Terrace, Herne Bay

  • Kieren Mitchell (30) Roosevelt Avenue, Chatham

  • Aaron Blake (31) of Tenterden drive, Canterbury

  • Justin McColl (31) of Camden Road, Broadstairs

  • Robert Curtis (41) of Leighville Drive, Herne Bay

  • Rachel Deal (30) of Leighville Drive, Herne Bay was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine following a trial.

On Thursday, 15 September 2011 Phillips was stopped in his Daniel D'Ageblue van by a patrol in the Canterbury area. A bag of cocaine was seized from the glove box. £1220 in cash was also found by officers searching the van. Officers then searched his home and where swabbing equipment detected traces of cocaine and electronic weighing scales were found.

On the same evening Bridge and (Justin) McColl were stopped in a Volkeswagon Golf near to McColl’s home. A bag of cocaine was found. A search of McColl’s home followed and drugs paraphernalia were seized. Bridge was also arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply class A drugs. A search of his home uncovered £5,000 in cash. Curtis was arrested after his Ford Mondeo was stopped by Kieren Mitchella patrol on the Thanet way on Thursday, 27 October 2011. A search of his car revealed a quantity of drugs in a plastic carrier bag which had been hidden under the drivers seat. A subsequent search of Curtis’s caravan in Sutton Vale, Deal and a farm in Dargate uncovered more drugs.

At Lamberhurst farm in Dargate officers seized scales, a red metal press and a number of barrels and powder samples. An empty beer bottle with a Curtis’s fingerprints on it was also discovered. Police also seized £16, 500 in cash from his caravan and cocaine with an estimated street value of £54,000.

On Wednesday 7 December 2011, officers from the Kent and Essex Justin McColl Serious Crime Directorate executed nine search warrants at various properties in Herne Bay, Ashford, Chartham, Sturry and Broadstairs. Drugs, mobile phones, counterfeit cash and weapons including a crossbow, were seized by police.

Cash seized by police as part of the operation Credit: Kent Police

This was a highly organised criminal network and the people within the network were pocketing thousands by selling to high end dealers across the East of the county. To connect the nine to the drug supply ring took many hours of investigative work in which officers trawled through a huge amount of mobile phone data and other intelligence which had been painstakingly gathered. We have been successful in taking millions of pounds worth of drugs off the streets and will continue to relentlessly pursue those intent in profiting from the death and misery caused by illegal drugs.

– Detective Constable Martin Lacey, Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate
More drugs seized by police Credit: Kent Police

HHJ Van Der Bilj described the offence as a sophisticated class A drugs operation which was a business like crime run in open daylight.

Sentences issued:

  • Angela McColl – 2 years suspended for 2 years

  • Lee Phillips – 4 years

  • Daniel Bridge – 3 years

  • Daniel D’Age – 8 years

  • Kieren Mitchell – 5 years

  • Justin McColl – 4 years

  • Robert Curtis – 4 years

  • Rachel Deal – 2 years suspended for 2 years

  • Aaron Blake will be sentenced on March 22.

Where the drugs were being stored Credit: Kent Police