The ring-leader of a drugs gang has been ordered to pay more than £190,000 of his ill-gotten gains.
Operation Ferrets was launched by detectives from Chester CID in April 2020 after the UK Border Force intercepted a number of parcels containing cannabis.
Following a detailed investigation the team conducted a series of warrants at addresses across Cheshire, North Wales and Shropshire, Thursday 18 February 2021 leading to the arrest of ten people in connection with the importation of Class B drugs.
The ring-leader of the gang was Jordan Mehta, who ran his criminal empire from his home on Shrewsbury Street, Prees.
Mehta was subsequently charged with conspiracy to supply Class B drugs, evading a prohibition on the importation of a Class B drug and money laundering offences.
The 38-year-old pleaded guilty to all of the charges and was sentenced to 45 months in prison at Chester Crown Court on Thursday 16 September 2021.
Following his sentencing, Financial Investigators at Cheshire Police embarked on an extensive confiscation investigation into the lifestyle of Mehta.
The investigation was complicated by the fact that he had previously been the subject of confiscation proceedings and as such had sought to conceal his current assets.
Despite his best efforts, investigators managed to establish a number of bank accounts linked to Mehta, including accounts belonging to his businesses, and that were controlled by him, but not held in his name.
Through this thorough and extensive investigation police were able to show that Metha had benefitted by around £1.3million from his criminal lifestyle.
Of the money gained officers were able to prove that he was still in possession of £193,467.42 worth of assets.
These included equity in his home and his half share of the profits from the sale of a litter of puppies worth a total of almost £160,000.
Following the investigation, Mehta was called back to Chester Crown Court on Monday 28 November where he was ordered to pay back £193,467.42 within three months. A compliance order was also granted to ensure that he cannot utilise any previously hidden funds to pay his order.
If Mehta fails to pay the order he will face a further custodial sentence, while still being liable to pay the order.
Two other members of the conspiracy had already had confiscation orders made removing a further £9,585.00 of assets from those involved.
There are still ongoing proceedings against a further two others, with more expected asset recovery.
Detective Inspector Kelly-Ann Cain said:
“The Confiscation Order in this case sends a strong message that Cheshire Constabulary takes the recovery of the Proceeds of Crime seriously.
“It highlights the importance of asset recovery considerations, running through out an investigation to maximise the opportunities to recover significant sums, derived from criminality.
“The Financial Investigator in this case worked tirelessly to accomplish this result through a tenacious and diligent approach to the investigation, leaving no stone unturned in pursuit of asset recovery.”