Brothers given financial confiscation orders after drug offences in Crawley
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Three drugs offenders in Sussex, including two brothers, have now been given court orders confiscating some of their criminal profits, following further enquiries by police financial experts.
At Lewes Crown Court on Monday 21 December, Ryan Quinnell (left in picture), 27, formerly of Antlands Lane, Shipley Bridge near Horley, was found to have benefited by £262,118.65 and was given a Confiscation Order under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), requiring him to pay the currently available amount of £17,188 within three months or face a further six months in prison and still have to pay the full amount.
He had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A, B and C drugs and was sentenced to nine years and seven months imprisonment at Lewes Crown Court on 12 July 2019
His brother Reece Quinnell (right in picture), 24, formerly of the same address, had also pleaded guilty to the same offences and was sentenced to nine years at Lewes Crown Court on 12 July 2019. At a previous hearing he had been found to have benefited by £90,953,30 and was given a confiscation order for £1,940.00 requiring him to pay within 28 days or face a further six weeks in prison and still have to pay the full amount required.
Liam Samels, 25, of Peterhouse Parade, Crawley, had also pleaded guilty to supply conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and was sentenced to 28 months imprisonment at Lewes Crown Court on 23 October 2019, and at a subsequent hearing was found to have benefited by £86,954.01 and was given a confiscation order requiring him to pay £2,230.00 within 28 days or face a further one month in prison and still have to pay the full amount required.
Reece Quinnell and Samels have since paid the amounts confiscated
The convictions and confiscation orders followed a police investigation which began when a car containing the defendants was stopped while being driven without lights in Crawley town centre in May 2018. Searches of the car and addresses resulted in seizures of cocaine, MDMA, Ketamine, Diazepam and Phenazapam with a total estimated potential street value of up to £115,422, and more than £13,000 cash.
Detective Inspector Mark O'Brien of the force's Economic Crime Unit said "These confiscation orders come from the continued hard work by our officers, and in particular our expert financial investigators.
"Wherever possible we now target not just the criminals but also the profits of their crimes, whether they are from drug dealing or any other form of criminal activity. It can take time and each investigation results in an application for a court-authorised confiscation order.
"Often in such cases the assets currently available are less than the amount originally stolen, but that still isn't the end of the matter. It is really important to make clear that we still keep records of all confiscation orders where the full benefit amount isn’t immediately available and we have means of regularly checking to identify any additional assets which have been obtained since the original order was made.
"We can then apply to the court for an increase in the original order. We also have the help of the South East Regional Asset Confiscation Enforcement (ACE) team, part of the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) who carry out further work to identify yet more assets
"Criminals need to know that where we think they have profits, hidden though they may be, we don’t give up after sentencing. Financial investigation is increasingly at the heart of criminal investigation.
"Any funds obtained through POCA confiscation or cash forfeiture orders go to the central Government exchequer. However a proportion of this is returned to law enforcement. Sussex Police receive 50% cash back from cash forfeitures and 18.75% cash back from seized confiscation orders.
"POCA funding received by Sussex Police is then distributed equally between the Police & Crime Commissioner and the force.
"We currently employ extra Financial Investigators and Financial Intelligence Officers from part of these funds to continue the fight in seizing criminal assets, with the remainder being used to support local crime reduction and diversion projects."
Newsdesk Guidance; For further information about how POCA works see this website.