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£18.5m confiscated in drug operation

Drug gang: The people behind the crimes

CONFISCATION orders with a criminal benefit of £18.5million have been granted against 12 offenders who are currently serving prison sentences for their roles in a cocaine conspiracy carried out in South Wales, Liverpool and Aberdeen.

The orders were made under the Proceeds of Crime Act by His Honour Judge Paul Thomas QC during a special hearing at Swansea Crown Court on Friday, May 5.

Vehicles, jewelry and cash that had been seized during Operation Phobos – the Dyfed-Powys Police-led investigation that led to the arrest and conviction of 18 offenders involved in a large-scale cocaine conspiracy – was used to pay off part of the orders.

The defendants have 12 weeks to pay the available assets. If they fail to pay, extra time will be added to their prison sentence. If they ever come into money in the future, the order would allow an application to be made for its confiscation.

Detective Sergeant Rhys Jones said: “The sanctioning of these Proceeds of Crime Orders should serve another clear message to anyone involved or considered in getting involved in the making and sale of illegal drugs.

“Not only will we relentlessly pursue you and do everything in our power to arrest you and provide strong evidence cases to the courts to secure convictions, we will also go after the assets.”