Drugs duo jailing is tip of the iceberg'
PUBLISHED: 17:11 17 June 2009 | UPDATED: 10:47 23 August 2010
A DRUG worker and former heroin addict says the conviction of two brothers who ran a massive crime empire is just the tip of the iceberg in the battle against drugs. Father-of-three Cavan Hanna, 39, of Pinewood Place, Dartford, and Jamie Hanna, 37,
A DRUG worker and former heroin addict says the conviction of two brothers who ran a massive crime empire is just the "tip of the iceberg" in the battle against drugs.
Father-of-three Cavan Hanna, 39, of Pinewood Place, Dartford, and Jamie Hanna, 37, of Wrotham Road, Meopham, a father-of-one, are serving a 14 year sentence.
The two men, bosses of a drugs gang that operated across north Kent and south east London, commanded a multi-million pound empire.
But Lee Weech, 40, who works for GAS4P, a drug addiction advice charity based in Queen Street, Gravesend fears the result will do little to stop the flood of drugs in the area.
He said: "Drugs in north Kent are rife. It is a sad fact that we do absolutely have a drugs problem here, and this latest case is just the tip of the iceberg in the drugs trade. The police do a good job in stopping people like this, but the problem is that when one gang is stopped and sent to jail, there is another two gangs ready to step in and take their place. I don't think you can ever eradicate it all. There is no sentence that will deter people from getting involved in this, people have the mindset that it won't happen to them, but it could easily happen to them. They are attracted by the money and the lifestyle - it's a lot easier than getting a job."
The duo were jailed at Maidstone Crown Court last Friday, alongside five other members, after admitting conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs and money laundering.
During the operation, police led by officers from the Serious Organised Crime Agency, (SOCA) raided a number of properties seizing a large quantity of drugs and more than £5 million, making it one of the biggest cash seizures made by police in the UK.
Records recovered from properties showed the gang carried out deals worth £38 million in just three months.
The court heard the men were arrested between October 2007 and June last year, following surveillance by SOCA. The property at the centre of their empire was a flat in Alderman House, Greenhithe, in which police discovered more than £1 million in cash being counted. A drugs factory in Plumstead was also raided, with the discovery of an industrial mixing machine along with 15,200 ecstasy tablets with a street value of £60,000 and 83kg of amphetamines, with an estimated value of £828,000.
The sum, along with money recovered from other locations, totaled £5,131,211.
Mr Weech added: "Although this is a big raid, it is an ongoing battle all of the time. The answer is that we need education from when they are very young, telling them the dangers of doing drugs and the impact it has. This is why GAS4P is an essential service for the community, we don't just support the addict, we support families and the carers. Drugs have as much an impact on them. We have some 25 people coming through our doors every day, and that is just the people we hear about, there are going to many more. It still goes on."
Judge Philip Statman said when passing sentence: "This was big business - big risks for big gains, tax free, enough money to make the jaws of the average citizen drop."
Employees in the "business" Jon Bastable, 37, of Sutherland Avenue, Welling, Darren Rankin, 38, of West Hill, Dartford, Steven Mee, 51, of Foxgrove Avenue, Beckenham, and Raj Koli, 33, of Bayswater, West London, were each jailed for five years. Martin Winter, 46, of Reddy Road, Erith, was sentenced to 21 months.