An Indian-origin crime gang boss is serving an eight-year-10-month prison sentence after admitting to drug smuggling and money laundering charges in a British court.
The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) said its officers proved that Raj Singh, 45, from Surrey in south-east England ran an organised crime group and regularly worked together with Waqas Iqbal, 41, to buy and sell Class A drugs and firearms.
The duo also planned to launder money and send ketamine to Canada. In February, Raj Singh – whose full name is Rajinder Singh Bassi – pleaded guilty to charges of supplying Class A banned substance cocaine, conspiracy to supply Class B banned substance ketamine and money laundering at the Guildford Crown Court.
He also admitted to assault in a separate matter, when he was involved in a pub fight in which he kicked a police officer’s leg as she tried to restrain him.
His sentence includes 16 months for causing actual bodily harm to the officer, who required significant rehabilitation on her knee and cannot return to frontline policing due to the injuries.
The NCA revealed details of the case this week after Iqbal was sentenced to 12 years in prison at the same court in southern England on Friday after he admitted conspiracy to import Class A drugs, conspiracy to transfer a prohibited weapon and money laundering.
“Though Iqbal and Singh operated within the London area they had criminal connections in multiple countries within mainland Europe and further afield,” said Dean Wallbank, NCA operations manager.
“Like other high-end dealers, Iqbal and Singh are toxic and responsible for causing very serious levels of harm to society. They didn’t care what bloodshed the guns and drugs led to, just as long as they made money. Protecting the public from the threats of Class A drugs and firearms is a priority for the NCA,” he said.
The NCA caught the duo after intercepting their messages to buy and supply Class A drugs and guns on the encrypted communications platform EncroChat.
They were not known by their real names on EncroChat but by “handles”, with Raj Singh as Salmonagent and Waqas Iqbal as Ghostshooter. The crucial phone evidence also showed the pair conspiring on firearms details.
The duo was held as part of the NCA-led Operation Venetic, the UK response to the takedown of EncroChat in 2020 after the messages between Raj Singh and Waqas Iqbal revealed how significant their offending was.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)