Highly advanced cell site analysis key to drug gang conviction

The client: Law enforcement agency

The Challenge:

Law enforcement investigators discovered 165 kg of heroin, with an estimated street value of £19 million hidden inside metal lathes at an industrial estate in the Midlands region of the UK; the drugs arrived in a container aboard a ship from Pakistan. The importation had been controlled by people remote from the scene, using unregistered pay as you go mobile phones and replacing them on a regular basis.

Overcoming the Challenge:

The cell-site analysis was complex and detailed, taking place over a two-year period with many challenging deadlines; generating over 1,000 pages of written evidence, and bundles of over 100 exhibits. The collaborative approach with the CCL cell-site team working onsite with the Law Enforcement Agency was extremely effective, and thus the level of quality and efficiency achieved was higher than a more traditional remote response. More analysis and exhibits were generated during the trial, as CCL dealt with last-minute evidence and alibis.

Quality support was available throughout, with pre-submission advice, ongoing identification of new forensic opportunities, through to production of court bundles under challenging circumstances prior to a thorough and extended witness box exercise taking place over the following days and weeks. In addition to the courtroom evidence, which gained a commendation from the judge, CCL provided “Live” cell-site analysis, trying to track down missing suspects, with CCL staff dovetailing with the law enforcement investigating team, supporting them during long and odd hours of work.

The Result:

Eight members of the drugs gang were jailed for a total of more than 130 years for conspiring to smuggle heroin, and Seven were found guilty of conspiracy to import a class A drug in the 11-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court (one pleaded guilty before the trial).

The prosecution case demonstrated how the operation involved the use of bogus companies, false documents, unregistered mobile phones and trips to Pakistan. By careful presentation of the evidence in court, the prosecution demonstrated the individual roles played by each of the defendants, resulting in the guilty verdicts returned by the jury.