Seven remaining members of organised crime gang arrested following 15 month police operation that seized 200kg of class A drugs

Monday 18 December 2023

After a 15-month police investigation into an organised crime group's involvement in the supply of class A drugs and firearms, the final seven members of the gang have been arrested.

The seizure of 200kgs of drugs and quantities of firearms, ammunition and cash led to the arrest of the seven remaining members of an organised criminal gang who were sentenced for a total of 90 years on 13 December at Woolwich Crown Court.

Due to the overwhelming evidence against them, they all pled guilty.

The other 15 members of the 22-person gang were previously jailed at different hearings throughout 2022, meaning the whole crime group has now been convicted and sentenced to a combined total of over 160 years.

Head of the criminal gang Ross Payton employed family and friends including his sister Shainie Payton, her sister's boyfriend Darren Goodge, his uncle Lee Souter, his cousin Jamie Dennison and associate Reece Mort.

The organised crime gang was led by Ross Payton

(Left) Alfie Malone, (right) Darren Goodge

(Left) Jamie Dennison, (right) Lee Souter

(Left) Reece Mort, (right) Shainie Payton

The gang travelled across London, the Home Counties and Scotland, transporting drugs, firearms and cash using a fleet of vehicles containing sophisticated hides.

Detective Inspector Nikki Owen, who led the investigation, said: "The conviction of these individuals will have a significant impact on drugs supply in London and the UK as a whole.

"I am incredibly proud of their efforts to bring these individuals to justice. London is undoubtedly safer because of the team work, dedication and commitment of the Met.

"Alongside significant seizures of class A and B drugs, firearms, cash and assets, the investigation team identified and safeguarded a number of vulnerable people who had been exploited by the gang.

"I hope that this result offers some reassurance to communities that the Met is determined to robustly deal with high harm offenders, reduce crime and restore trust and confidence."

The police operation began in March 2020 and was designed to dismantle the supply and distribution of Class A drugs around south-east London.

A large scale surveillance operation was launched involving a number of individuals and locations, where the initial phase of the investigation identified, investigated, arrested and prosecuted four low-level members of the organised criminal group for various drug offences.

The seizure of 200kgs of drugs and quantities of firearms led to the arrest of the last seven members

Following their arrests, detectives utilised material from their mobile phones, seizures at their home addresses and other intelligence to progress the operation leading to the conviction of the leader of the group, his allies and other key individuals.

The first person identified was Alfie Malone in September 2020 and he was placed under surveillance.

A search of gang leader Payton’s home recovered a mobile phone that contained messages and pictures linking him to UK-wide drug distribution.

Officers discovered more than 5,000 relevant items linking him to hundreds of kilos worth of Class A drug distribution.

Detectives recovered Telegram messages from Payton revealing that in the period between the 14 December 2020 and 8 April 2021 he organised the distribution of 115 kilos of class A drugs, equating to around £3,450,000 in wholesale value.

It was also uncovered that Payton and Malone were conspiring to sell firearms including AK47 assault rifles, Skorpion submachine guns and handguns.

During the investigation, three vulnerable people were identified as being victims of exploitation by the gang to allow their premises to be used to store and bag up drugs.

Officers worked with various local authorities so that these three were found alternative housing and given support.

Prior to the arrest and conviction of the seven key players, a number of lower tier group members were convicted for their part in the enterprise having been implicated whilst under surveillance to supply Class A and B drugs.

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