By Gangsters Inc. Editors
Two British crime bosses who conspired to buy and supply drugs and guns on the encrypted communications platform EncroChat have been imprisoned. Raj Singh, 45, and Waqas Iqbal, 41, plotted multi-kilo consignments of cocaine and heroin between March and May 2020. Singh was sentenced in February, Iqbal on Friday.
National Crime Agency officers proved Singh and Iqbal ran an organized crime group and regularly worked together to buy and sell drugs and firearms. They also planned to launder money and send ketamine to Canada.
“Though Iqbal and Singh operated within the London area they had criminal connections in multiple countries within mainland Europe and further afield,” Dean Wallbank, NCA operations manager, said. “Like other high end dealers, Iqbal and Singh are toxic and responsible for causing very serious levels of harm to society. They didn’t care what bloodshed the guns and drugs led to, just as long as they made money.”
Coke, heroin, and guns
They were not known by their real names EncroChat but by ‘handles’. Singh was called Salmonagent and Iqbal (left) was Ghostshooter. The National Crime Agency led Operation Venetic, which was the British side of the international takedown of EncroChat in 2020. The platform was used by countless criminals – from Mafiosi to drug bosses – around the globe.
In one EncroChat exchange, Iqbal told a criminal contact that his OCG had its name on 150 kilos of cocaine and 100 kilos of heroin.
The crucial phone evidence also showed the pair conspiring on firearms details. At the end of March 2020 Iqbal supplied a contact with ammunition for a 7.65 Browning at a meeting on Acacia Road, in London E17.
A week later Singh and Iqbal discussed a firearm that Iqbal had hidden in a wall.
Over the next few days between 8 and 10 April the men discussed buying another firearm from a contact on EncroChat for £8,000.
On April 24, Iqbal told a criminal contact that he had bought a Walther Creed semi-automatic handgun with 50 bullets for £6,000.
A conversation four weeks later between Iqbal and Singh revealed the bullets weren’t delivered on that deal, but they had also agreed to buy a Skorpion machine pistol for £6,000.
The messages between Singh and Iqbal revealed how significant their offending was. The men had not only been involved in many multiple kilo deals to buy and supply drugs, the decrypted messages revealed that in April 2020 Iqbal was in the process of repaying £385,000 for drugs he had taken on credit.
Decrypted messages between April and May 2020 also showed the OCG in conversations about laundering 151,500 euros from the UK to the Netherlands. Singh also plotted to send ketamine to Canada.
Pub fight with a female cop
Iqbal admitted conspiracy to import 10 kilos of cocaine, conspiracy to transfer a prohibited weapon and money laundering.
Singh (right) admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine, conspiracy to supply ketamine and money laundering. He also admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm upon police on a separate matter.
In February this year Singh – also known as Rajinder Singh Bassi – was sentenced to eight years and 10 months at Guildford Crown Court.
The sentence also included 16 months for assault occasioning actual bodily harm upon a female police officer. Singh was involved in a pub fight in which he kicked the police officer’s leg as she tried to restrain him. The officer required significant rehabilitation upon her knee and cannot return to front line policing due to the injuries.
On Friday, at the same court, Iqbal was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
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