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Operation Lion – Drugs Sentencing

Today [Wednesday 23 September 2020], the Royal Court sentenced seven people to a total of nearly 74 years in prison for drugs offences, following a joint investigation by JCIS and SOJP.

Nicholas Maxwell Thurban (61), Colin Russel Sait (45), Paul Dennis Brown (59), John Alexander Roy (55) and Jon Adam Hughes (41), all received custodial sentences of between 12 – 14 years in length, whilst Daniel Niall Riley (26) received a sentence of 8 years and 2 months and Deborah Karen Wolff 54, was jailed for 2 years.

The investigation, known as Operation Lion, became one of the most complex drug-related investigations ever undertaken by Jersey law enforcement agencies and its success was built on mutual legal assistance from both the UK and several other jurisdictions around the world.

The joint operation lasted almost eighteen months with local Police and Customs officers working alongside colleagues from the National Crime Agency, UK Border Force and Australian Police. The operation uncovered direct correlation between the Jersey conspirators and other illegal drugs operations worldwide and involved the largest data communications trawl ever completed by local authorities.

The case involved examination of data from 136 mobile phones that produced 55,000 lines of data from 26,000 telephone calls and text messages. Over 100 physical exhibits were also seized and examined by officers.

The operation culminated in the seizure of MDMA, Cocaine and Cannabis resin totalling a street value of approximately £919,000, after they were imported by boat on 21 June 2019.

Detective Chief Inspector Chris Beechey said: “The joint investigation with our JCIS colleagues formed part of a much bigger worldwide picture, requiring excellent international collaboration. Today’s sentences and the associated seizures will have had a major impact on illegal drug importation into our Island. We know how easily controlled drugs can destroy families and communities and we will continue to work tirelessly to see this type of offender and this type of criminality brought to justice.”

Customs and Immigration Senior Manager Andrew Hunt said “I’d like thank all those involved in this lengthy and complex investigation for the part they played in bringing the case to a successful conclusion which drew together the very best ingredients of joint working and collaboration at a local, national and international level. The sentences handed down by the Royal Court reflect the serious nature of organised crime that was committed by this group over a long period of time, targeting Jersey for their own financial gain”.

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