Five Nottinghamshire people have been sentenced as part of an investigation into the production of drugs and money laundering.
This is the result of a long-running investigation called Operation Nabit which has been prosecuted in two halves.
The first part of the operation concluded on 23 September 2015 after a two-month trial but could not be reported until now due to the risk of prejudicing the second trial which concluded yesterday (Thursday March 2).
Nottinghamshire Police initiated Operation Nabit after a warrant was executed at Ravenshead Plant Centre in Mansfield Road, in June 2013, a business owned by 57-year-old Dale Richmond.
A total of 70 cannabis plant stumps and 22 juvenile cannabis plants were recovered at the scene along with cannabis seeds but it was the large amount of cash recovered from the scene that led officers to uncover a network of money laundering.
Inspection of bank accounts belonging to Richmond revealed numerous cash deposits and numerous cash withdrawals. Police began to investigate his associates and in January 2014 a series of warrants were carried out across the county.
A trial held at Nottingham Crown Court in July and August 2015 found Richmond guilty of conspiracy to produce cannabis and six counts of money laundering to the tune of more than £150,000.
His co-accused John William Palfreyman and Neil Rose were found guilty of conspiracy to produce cannabis. Palfreyman was additionally found guilty of money laundering.
Two more men, Warren Richmond and Kevin Martin, had pleaded guilty to producing cannabis at the start of the trial.
On Thursday 15 October 2015 they were given the following sentences:
- Dale Richmond of Mansfield Road, Ravenshead, was sentenced to eight years in prison.
- John William Palfreyman, now 30, of Kirby Close, Newthorpe was sentenced to three years in prison.
- Neil Rose, now 44, of Ragdale Road, Nottingham, was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment.
- Kevin Martin, now 31, of Rufford Avenue, Rainworth was sentenced to nine months imprisonment, suspended for two years and 200 hours unpaid work.
Warren Richmond, now 35, of Second Avenue, Rainworth was sentenced on 14 December 2015 to 10 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months and paid a £100 victim surcharge. He is Dale Richmond’s step-son.
During the trial, Nottingham Crown Court heard that following the warrant in 2013 officers were able to link Dale Richmond to the purchase of houses, land and a wind turbine where he would launder money from drug trafficking by using Palfreyman and others to assist him in his illicit dealings. Richmond was found to be transferring funds into a number of bank accounts at key points in the purchase and sale of property to facilitate these transactions.
Dale Richmond already had a history of cannabis growing but the financial information coupled with evidence recovered at Ravenshead Plant Centre in June 2013 and the other addresses in January 2014 indicated the drugs were being produced on a much wider scale.
Invoices showed that between 2011 and 2013 Dale Richmond had spent in excess of £70,000 on hydroponics equipment and fertiliser to produce the drug. Searches in Mansfield, Rainworth and Hucknall properties linked to the accused revealed multiple cannabis grows. Martin, Rose, and Warren Richmond, who were living in some of the properties at the time, were arrested.
In some cases the electricity meters were by-passed and paperwork linking the group to each other was recovered.
Yesterday, Dale Richmond was sentenced to a further one and a half years after being found guilty of two counts of money laundering, to run consecutively with his previous sentence, making his total jail term nine-and-a-half years. He had denied the offences on 7 May 2015.
During the four-day trial, the court heard about his involvement in both a rogue builder and a money laundering case.
Between February and April 2013, a 76-year-old man fell victim to ‘rogue builders’ and paid them £134,000 to carry out work on his house in London - £70,000 of which was paid directly into Dale Richmond’s company account for Mansfield Limited and as soon as it was received, Dale Richmond withdrew it in cash.
The work was examined by Trading Standards and was estimated to be worth between £1,691 and £2,029. This had cost the victim his life savings and he had taken out a £10,000 bank loan to pay off the debt.
In June 2010, Charlie Doherty, 30, of Dickens Heath Road in Solihull, West Midlands, defrauded two men out of £33,000. They had agreed to loan the money on the pretext of getting a high rate of interest on the loan for ‘a mate’ who needed to seal a property deal before a mortgage was granted. This was paid directly into Dale Richmond’s bank account.
Charlie Doherty pleaded gulity to fraud by false representation on 7 May 2015. On 6 June 2016 he was sentenced to eight months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months and paid £33,000 in compensation.
Financial Investigator Ray Goddard said: “All of these sentences are the result of a long, ongoing and highly complex case looking at years of financial records and providing the evidence to link this group to each other. I’m really pleased with the results which mark another success for our continued efforts to stamp out drug-related crime and money laundering in Nottinghamshire. I am also pleased as it highlights our efforts continue to try and support the vulnerable victims of fraud and prosecute those responsible, including the individuals who launder the proceeds of these crimes.”
Detective Inspector Jon Scurr said: “Nottinghamshire Police’s Organised Crime department seeks to protect the vulnerable and pursue offenders who target them until justice is achieved. This investigation emphasises this commitment and also the excellent work conducted by Ray to secure these convictions. The sentences are reflective of the offences committed.”