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Supermarket sweep: Drug traffickers taken out in Telford Co-op car park sting

By Tom Oakley | Telford | Crime | Published:

Four traffickers who were caught dealing drugs in a police swoop on a Telford car park have been jailed.

From left; Aman Deep Bilku, Gary John Merchant, Lee Christopher John Baker and Maninder Singh Karir

Police filmed the men, who had a holdall containing 15kg of cocaine, swapping the drugs for cash at the Co-op in Stirchley.

Lee Baker, 49, of Chase Cross Road, Romford, and Gary Merchant, 47, of Bolberry Rd, Romford; were both jailed for eight years at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday.

Aman Bilkhu, 23, of Norwood Gardens, Southall, and Maninder Karir, 26, of Leonard Road, Southall were also each sentenced to eight years in prison.

The four had pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine with intent to supply.

The cocaine

They were arrested as part of an operation between the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Metropolitan Police officers.

It comes after officers from the NCA and Met Police’s joint Organised Crime Partnership (OCP) followed Baker and Merchant to the car park of the Co-op in October.

Karir arrived in a white van, followed by Bilkhu in an Audi, before Baker went with Karir to the back of the van and returned to his hire car with a black holdall.

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When OCP officers arrested the four men they found 15kg of cocaine inside the holdall. Each suspect had several mobile phones.

Police filmed the men dealing drugs on the Co-op car park in Stirchley

Matthew McMillan, operations manager at the NCA and Met Police joint Organised Crime Partnership, said: “The NCA and Metropolitan Police are working in close partnership to protect the public from serious and organised criminals.

“Cash made in bulk drug deals circulates in the criminal economy and provides funding for many other forms of crime.

“Jobs like these take dangerous people off the streets and hit their bosses where it hurts – the bank account.”

Tom Oakley

By Tom Oakley
Trainee Multi-Media Journalist

Express & Star reporter responsible for covering Walsall and Staffordshire. Got a story? Email tom.oakley@expressandstar.co.uk or call 01902 319482.

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