Drug lord ran crime gang smuggling heroin worth £900,000 from Northamptonshire village home
Villager, 60, used encrypted messages to run import operation under cover of fake household linen company
A drug baron who led an organised crime gang smuggling heroin into the UK from his home in a picturesque Northamptonshire village has been jailed for more than ten years.
Villager Stephen Hunt was a senior member of the group which planned to import more than 90 kilos of Class A drugs a week.
Using the handle Nobleblood, the 60-year-old liaised with contacts abroad, rented office space via a front company pretending to deal in household linen and worked with accomplices to have consignments of heroin delivered by fast parcel.
Hunt operated on EncroChat, the encrypted communication platform taken down last year, and rented an office at the start of last year in Huntingdon where parcels of heroin could be delivered.
He drove to the office in his white, convertible Mercedes AMG sports car where he was captured on CCTV and his Encrochat phone messages revealed the OCG’s heroin would be forwarded to Liverpool where he planned to set up a new office.
Other EncroChat conversations indicated the OCG was importing at least 24 kilos of Class A drugs per week with plans to import more than 90 kilos per week via Spain and the Netherlands.
Hunt, of Main Street, Great Oxendon, Northamptonshire, was this week jailed for ten years, nine months at Caernarfon Crown Court after admitting conspiring to supply class A drugs.
Fellow OCG member Dylan Sanger, 34, of Ellesmere Port, was jailed for nine years.
Tyrone Holbrook-Harris, 27, of Flintshire and Darren Barrett, 41, of Mold were sentenced to six years and five years, three months respectively.
All the men admitted conspiring to supply class A drugs.
The gang were rumbled on May 5 last year when National Crime Agency officers watched Holbrook-Harris receive a parcel from Barrett which had been delivered to Barrett’s home by courier.
Officers arrested the men in a pub car park in Mold and found the parcel contained 9.45 kilos of heroin with a street value of £475,000.
The delivery was one of at least six the OCG had arranged with at least 18 kilos of class A drugs coming into the UK between January and May 2020 with a total value of £900,000.
Piers Phillips, NCA operations manager, said: “These men were central to the violence and exploitation that UK crime groups deal in when it comes to supplying heroin through County Lines.
“Class A drugs cause misery and bring chaos to our communities.
“We’re pleased to have taken this OCG out of action and we’ll continue to do our utmost to protect the public from this threat.”