Villager jailed for drug dealing with major crime gang

A Rearsby man, who was part of a major organised crime group (OCG), has been jailed after being found guilty of drug dealing.

Friday, 12th November 2021, 1:08 pm
Dean Saunders, of Rearsby, who has been jailed after being convicted on a charge of conspiracy to supply class B drugs EMN-211211-123947001

Dean Saunders (42) will serve three years after being convicted yesterday (Thursday) at Leicester Crown Court of conspiracy to supply class B drugs.

Saunders was identified as a wholesale customer for the OCG and covert surveillance revealed his regular interactions with members of the group and his role as a dealer.

He was one of over 50 people arrested two years ago on suspicion of the supply and distribution of illegal drugs.

Three of the main offenders were convicted last year and sentenced to substantial terms in prison following an extensive investigation conducted by the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU).

Det Insp Lee Hunt, an officer with EMSOU said: “Those convicted ran a business-like operation and they all had a key role to play in the supply of controlled drugs onto the streets.

“This was a significant operation for us but our work doesn’t end here.

“We know the supply of controlled drugs is a never-ending battle and there is always someone waiting to fill the gap left by others.

“Our efforts to stop the misuse of drugs will continue and we will carry out further operations of this nature to disrupt the criminal activity.”

Another member of the gang, Ashok Kholia, who was also due to stand trial, pleaded guilty at the beginning of the trial to allowing a premises to be used for the production of class B drugs.

Kholia, 59, of Broughton Astley, was sentenced on Wednesday to nine months in prison, suspended for 18 months. He will also have to complete 250 hours community service and be the subject of electronic monitoring between 7pm and 6am.

During the course of EMSOU’s covert operation into the organised crime group they uncovered evidence which provided information on how far and wide their supply business operated.

When Kholia was arrested a cannabis factory with more than 650 plants was discovered in a unit in Hinckley - he claimed he was the landlord and had no idea what it was being used for.

A second container leased by Kholia, in Enderby, was also uncovered and evidence of cannabis production was found.

Det Insp Hunt added: “Drugs destroy lives and communities and through this operation we have taken down a large organised crime group who didn’t care about the impact of selling drugs.”