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Banknote Watch Trust
Company No. 4149042 (A Company limited by guarantee)
Registered Office: Banknote Watch Trust, Spinnaker House, Saltash Parkway, Saltash. PL12 6YH.
Loomis and Applied DNA Science’s unique taggant, SigNatureDNA®, has played a key role in the dismantling of a major drug ring in Gloucestershire, where eleven drug cartel members were sentenced to a total of 31 years in prison. A massive police operation, conducted over a period of three years, resulted in seizures totalling £265,000 of cocaine, heroin and cannabis, along with £47,000 in cash. Codenamed Operation Betula, the police work culminated late last December in the sentencing of the cartel leader, where an important part of the evidence was the presence of the unique taggant.
Operation Betula began during 2009 in the city of Gloucester but soon spread to London, Somerset and South Wales, as a major drug distribution network was gradually uncovered.
SigNatureDNA® became a major piece in a case that, in the words of the sentencing judge was an especially “difficult case to investigate and bring to trial.” Judge Horton, noted that “defendants were sophisticated, devious and experienced professional criminals who had above average skills in anti-surveillance, and had developed a commercial dealing network which was both efficient and well concealed.”
Detective Inspector Neil Carpenter, who led the operation, called the case “very complex”, but the unique taggant assisted Police in providing irrefutable evidence to help bring these criminals to justice.
A breakthrough occurred when the house of the cartel leader, Leslie Jenkins, was raided, and £10,000 in cash was seized, even while Jenkins was caught attempting to dispose of a stash of cocaine. The cash was tested for the unique taggant and found to consist of notes stolen during a cash-in-transit robbery against Loomis that had previously taken place in Liverpool. Jenkins’ role was to launder the stolen money, and he subsequently pleaded guilty to money laundering in June, 2011. He was sentenced to eleven years in prison during the December court session.
Steve Clements, Risk Director at Loomis UK Ltd commented, “This proves once again that the leading edge security systems we use not only assist in convicting those criminals that are responsible for crimes against Loomis but help in detecting other criminals associated with Cash In Transit crime – in this case a serious drugs ring who were laundering stolen cash. This is a great example of how Loomis has a positive impact on reducing crime in society.”