19th member of notorious Hertfordshire drug gang jailed for over 14 years

A ‘well-established’ organised crime group from Hertfordshire has had another member jailed for drug offences.

Thursday, 12th May 2022, 3:58 pm

The 19th member of a drug gang from Hertfordshire has been jailed for more than 14 years for his role in supplying cocaine in Bushey, Watford, St Albans and elsewhere.

Fifty-year-old Ian Harris, of Bushey, was arrested in April 2021 for his involvement in buying and selling more than 17 kilograms of cocaine.

Harris was sentenced to 14 years and five months at St Albans Crown Court on Monday (May 9).

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Ian Harriswas arrested in April 2021 for his involvement in buying and selling 17 kilograms of cocaine.

Police had been carrying out an intensive investigation of the gang since August 2019 and were able to access intelligence to identify criminals and their activities.

Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Serious and Organised Crime Command had found that the well-established OCG had been using an encrypted phone app called ‘EncroChat’ to communicate with OCG members and plan crimes.

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Detective Inspector Sarah Corr, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Operation Relentless team, said: “We have been able to dismantle a number of OCGs operating in the county using the data recovered from EncroChat. Over the past two years we have made significant progress in shutting down drug supply networks, jailing criminals and seizing large amounts of cash and drugs.”

She added: “Organised crime groups use violence, supply drugs and commit a whole range of crimes that pose a real threat to the community. Operation Relentless is Hertfordshire Constabulary’s response to this ongoing threat.”

His co-conspirators Scott Wells, Adam Mayling, Jason Walton-Whitelock, Carl Walker, Ricky Green and Hemel Hempstead’s Philip Blackburne have already been sentenced for their involvement in the drug network.

As part of a wider operation, a total of more than 153 years of imprisonment was given to 19 individuals for their involvement in the drug network.