Two drug dealers from West London who planned to use a stun gun on their competition to protect their illicit business have had their prison sentences increased.
Matthew Wraight, 37, and Mark Bannister, 47, were behind a series of drug deals in London arranged on the encrypted messaging platform EncroChat.
Both men were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and money laundering on 3 July 2020 following an investigation by the Organised Crime Partnership. Wraight was also arrested for driving without a valid licence and whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
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Wraight, from West Drayton and Bannister from were identified as using EncroChat handles to communicate with each other and instigate deals between April and June 2020.
Wraight, from West Drayton, used the handle ‘Rokafella’ while communicating with haulage company owner Bannister, who was under the names ‘Goldbusiness’ and ‘Goldgame’.
The pair were responsible for supplying large quantities of cocaine and laundering money made as a result of these deals.
They were directly in contact with those importing drugs into the UK, and in April – June 2020 received a total of 120 kilos of cocaine which would have been worth around £4 million.
Encro messages showed the pair were ready to use violence against competitors to protect their business. On 10 April 2020. ‘Goldgame’ told ‘Rokafella’: “Mate we got to go and find this c***… You’ve left it long enough… Its time to get physical… Physical.”
‘Goldgame’ added: “Don’t sit there stressing soon as this is over u can get a stun gun were go find this c***…”.
Investigators found Wraight was in charge of the operation to sell wholesale amounts of class A drugs onto customers through his contacts. While Bannister collected the drugs from those importing them.
Bannister used an 18 tonne lorry registered to his business to make these collections. On 16 April 2020 and 23 April 2020 they received 50 kilos, and 20 kilos on 13 May 2020.
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On 15 May 2020 Bannister was supposed to collect a further 20 kilos, but pulled out of the deal after fears he was under surveillance and made plans to flee to Amsterdam or Germany.
The pair pleaded guilty at Isleworth Crown Court on July 22, with Wraight sentenced to 12 years and Bannister to nine.
But after the sentences were found to be unduly lenient they were increased to 16 years six months and 12 years nine months respectively at the Court of Appeal on Tuesday (December 14)
Andrew Tickner, from the Organised Crime Partnership, said: “Wraight and Bannister were prepared to act violently to protect their despicable enterprise.
“This shows the corrosive effect that class A drugs can have on our communities, with violence and intimidation often the driver behind the trade.
“This case is yet another example of the NCA and Met Police working together to protect the public from this threat.”