Men who sold 'Prada' stamped cocaine bricks worth £5.6M jailed

The group bought, sold and delivered 56kg of cocaine with a value of £5.6m Credit: West Midlands Police

Four men who sold bricks of cocaine branded with 'Prada' stamps have been jailed.

The drugs - worth £5.6million - were distributed around the UK including in Worcester, Wales, Gloucestershire and Nottingham.

Vikram Virdee, Dean Riley and Richard Yarker were the key players in a group which sold large amounts of class A drugs.

The three have been jailed alongside Karl McQuillan who delivered drugs and collected cash from locations around the country.

The group will now spend a combined total of more than 50 years in prison.

They were caught after an investigation by the West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit.

L-R: Karl McQuillan, Vikram Virdee, Dean Riley, Richard Yarker Credit: West Midlands Police

The operation revealed some of the group’s conversations on EncroChat - an encrypted mobile network which was shut down in 2020.

Investigators then seized over six kilograms of cocaine, four cars – some with secret compartments – and over 40 Hours of CCTV.

Police also tracked down images the group sent each other of bundles of money and cocaine they had stamped with the designer brand name Prada.

Four of the group were sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court on Monday (January 24) after previously pleading guilty to being concerned in the supply of class A.

The court heard the group bought, sold and delivered 56kg of cocaine with a value of £5.6m between February 2020 and October 2020.

An image of a block of cocaine recovered from the EncroChat conversations Credit: West Midlands Police

Vikram Virdee - jailed for 17 years

Virdee, of Newport Pagnell in Milton Keynes, coordinated the group’s involvement in buying and supplying the illegal drugs. He has previous convictions for similar offences and was out on licence at the time.

Dean Riley - jailed for 9 years, 10 months

Riley received, processed and distributed much of the cocaine. He handled the cash payments too – typically hundreds of thousands of pounds at a time.

He carried out much of his activity at his home in Ashby Road, Woodville, Swadlincote.

He had more the £17k cash on him when he was arrested in the summer of 2020 and 2.2kg of cocaine was recovered from his home address.

Bundles of cash recovered by the investigation team Credit: West Midlands ROCU

Richard Yarker - jailed for 15 years

Police found 3kg of cocaine and £25k in cash at Richard Yarker’s address in Tamworth Road.

Yarker was also on licence at the time after previously being convicted of conspiracy to supply cocaine back in 2012.

Karl McQuillan - jailed for eight years, three months

McQuillan, of Rubens Close, Whoberley in Coventry was a drug runner who worked directly for Yarker.

McQuillan recruited a fifth man – jailed in 2020 - to help him transport cocaine for Yarker and the gang. They conspired to buy a Vauxhall Insignia and had it fitted with a secret compartment to help them better hide drugs.

The person he recruited was arrested in South Wales on 29 May 2020 for transporting 1kg of cocaine. He was jailed for 58 months.

Following the sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Leanne Lowe, said: “This was a complex investigation in which we worked through lots of evidence; conversations, images and CCTV footage as well as mobile phone data to piece together what these men were doing and how they were connected to one another.

“Not only have we disrupted a chain of supply, we have also removed a huge quantity of drugs.

“At ROCUWM, we have enjoyed considerable success in arresting and convicting people who are involved in this type of criminal activity and this work will continue.”