The head of an organised crime group and his associates who were responsible for supplying millions of pounds worth of drugs across the South West were sentenced on Friday (3rd November) at Bristol Crown Court.
Anes Troudi, age 40 from Fishponds; Adnan Malik, 33 from St Annes; Gary Browne, 39 from Radstock; and Carl Powell, 50 of Paulton all pleaded guilty to their involvement and were given custodial sentences totalling more than 35 years (pictured in order below).
The investigation was led by the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SWROCU) and arose from data provided by Operation Venetic – an international investigation which led to the takedown of EncroChat, an encrypted communications platform used by serious and organised criminals.
Troudi, who played a leading role, was sentenced to 17 years for conspiracy to supply up to 50 kilos of cocaine with a street value of £5million, between January 2020 and January 2021.
Investigators were able to track the extent of his offending through his EncroChat device which also showed him facilitating the onward supply of drugs to downstream associates Malik and Browne.
Although EncroChat alerted its users that its platform had been infiltrated by law enforcement and advised them to destroy their handsets, Troudi remained undeterred and went on to use an alternative encrypted handset which documented his continued involvement in the supply of commercial wholesale levels of cocaine.
Malik, who was arrested in November 2022, also used an EncroChat phone which enabled investigators to evidence his offences. He received a sentence of 9 years for conspiracy to supply 6 kilos of cocaine bought from Troudi to be sold to his own client base. Jewellery and designer clothes with a value of more than £100k, and a Porsche were seized from his home.
Browne was sentenced to 7 years 6 months for conspiracy to supply 5 kilos of cocaine which he purchased from Troudi as well as possession with intent to supply a further three-quarters of a kilo of cocaine and 40 kilos of cannabis. On his arrest in November 2022, officers also seized £32k in cash from his van.
Powell was a trusted associate of Browne and took possession of the drugs in order to conceal them. He received a suspended sentence.
DI Matt Houghton of SWROCU, said: “Troudi, Malik and Browne were embedded in organised crime and I’m pleased to see the court handed down significant sentences to them. The assets seized from Malik alone show the amount of money being made and the lifestyle being financed through the distribution of harmful drugs. Thanks to the invaluable assistance from the CPS’s Complex Casework Unit we were able to stop significant quantities of drugs being supplied across our region.”
Ben Samples, Head of the Complex Casework Unit for CPS South West, said: “After close cooperative work with our partners, we were able to present a compelling case that proved these four defendants each played key roles in the supply of dangerous drugs worth millions of pounds.
“Their intention was clear, to make as much money as possible with no regard to the misery and destruction that is caused by this activity.
“Today’s result sends a loud message to those involved – we will not tolerate this activity and will not hesitate to prosecute those found to be involved in the supply of dangerous drugs.
“Drug-related crime is corrosive – it damages not only those involved in buying and selling and their families, but the communities in which they live. The CPS is committed to working with the police to disrupt the supply of drugs by bringing those involved to justice and ensuring they do not profit from their criminality.”