City of London Police seizes £500k of drugs in organised crime group bust

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Members of an organised crime group (OCG), suspected of managing the distribution of large quantities of drugs across London, have been arrested following a series of warrants by City of London Police.

Officers from the force’s Central Detective Unit conducted searches at six addresses in Essex and East London, as part of a crackdown on drug-related offences.

Three men and one woman were arrested. Three of them have since been charged with three counts of conspiracy to distribute class A drugs, as well proceeds of crime (POCA) offences.

– Wesley Candida, 29, of Ilford
– Vanessa Candida, 28, of Ilford
– Wanderson Rocha Dos Santos, 30, of Tower Hamlets

It is suspected that the OCG were distributing a variety of drugs in large amounts, in particular, chemsex drugs. Chemsex is a term used to describe sex under the influence of psychoactive drugs (particularly mephedrone, GHB, GBL and crystal meth.

Detective Inspector Anne Medlycott, who is leading on the investigation, said: “The force takes a zero tolerance approach to drugs in the City, so it’s good that we’ve managed to not only disrupt this OCG and their operation, but also seize the drugs and their assets, hitting them where it hurts.

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“This OCG specialised in chemsex drugs such as GBL, Mephedrone and Crystal Meth, amongst others. Chemsex drugs can become a destructive influence in people’s lives and lead to serious problems. I would urge anyone who feels that this is becoming an issue, to take control and seek help from dedicated support services or their GP.”

City POlice says that various items of food delivery-style clothing and paraphernalia were recovered during the warrants, suggesting that the OCG may have been utilising moped deliveries to reduce suspicion and avoid detection.

Officers also recovered an estimated £500,000 worth of drugs, as well as items commonly used to aid in the preparation and distribution of drugs. They also seized roughly £30,000 in cash, and another £50,000 worth of assets.

The persons charged are yet to enter a plea and are next due in court on Friday 4 January 2021 for a Pre Trial Preliminary Hearing (PTPH). The other suspect who was arrested has since been bailed, while officers continue with their enquiries.

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