A group of 26 north Yorkshire police officers and staff members who contributed to the takedown of what was referred to as a “sophisticated” network of illegal drugs smugglers on the dark web has received chief constable’s commendation.
Two dark web drug traffickers, Aarron Gledhill and Ross Brennan, who are said to have met at the university, were put behind bars for more than 17 years for conspiring to deal, export and sell illegal potent substances especially the killer fentanyl among other drugs on the dark web.
Each of the 26 North Yorkshire police officers and staff members has received a Chief Constable’s Commendation for what he referred to as their role in bringing down an international illegal drugs market based in York in a ‘sophisticated investigation’.
“Inspirational teamwork, courageous decision making and professionalism in dismantling a sophisticated international illegal drugs market network especially on the dark web and protecting the general public from more harm.” Dave Jones, the North Yorkshire Police’s Chief Constable said.
Brennan admitted to have been importing illegal drugs such as fentanyl and heroin from around the world and posting them to his thousands of customers who pay with virtual currency especially bitcoin.
The complexity and level of the said investigation required no single speciality but involved a wide range of North Yorkshire police divisions including a Cybercrime team, intelligence team, investigation hub, covert teams, forensics experts, organized crime unit, North Yorkshire Police crime analyst and National Crime Agency including West Yorkshire Police in the neighborhood.
“It felt good and fulfilling [when both suspects] finally pleaded guilty and received their jail sentence after we presented overwhelming evidence that we had gathered against them.” Nichola Holden, the Special inspector detective, who led the North Yorkshire police in the sophisticated investigation said as he received his commendation.
“However, not without the overwhelming collaboration between the specialist teams across all policing agents in the country and beyond. Now it goes without saying that despite North Yorkshire police having a large geographical area to serve, there is no new generation network of criminals that we cannot tackle, as long as we bring our diverse skills together and work collaboratively,” he added.
The National Crime Agency has now used this case to develop a national response policy to fight similar illegal substance on dark web.
Aarron Gledhill and Ross Brennan case is said to be the first of its kind in the whole of the UK taking into consideration the use of sophisticated and complicated technology to link buyers and the quantities and qualities of the illegal drugs involved. Ringleader Brennan, the 28 year old suspect from Huntington, York, was convicted at York Crown Court last year September. The judge described him as a “21st century sophisticated and arrogant criminal.” According to the evidence produced before the court, the two are believed to have created an online supermarket on the dark web to advertise illegal products and also used an encrypted program to mask transactions that earned them around £450,000.
30 year old Aarron Gledhill from Huddersfield also admitted to receive, package and store illegal drugs which were sent to him through an address in Huddersfield and York.
They both pleaded guilty of conspiring to import and distribute grade-A illegal substances and money laundering through virtual currency. Aarron Gledhill received 13 years and nine months sentence while Brennan was jailed for 13 years, eight months in prison.