From Devon & Cornwall Police:
A man has today, Friday 6 November, been sentenced to 12 years in prison for his role in the wholesale trafficking of drugs from the West Midlands to Cornwall.
Anthony Latter, aged 34 from Hunter Avenue, Burntwood, Staffordshire, was convicted at Truro Crown Court along with two other men; Jason Willis, aged 33 from Carknown Gardens, Redruth, Cornwall and Kirk Hicken, aged 40 from Barr Common Road, Walsall, West Midlands.
All three were convicted after pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.Hicken was sentenced to six and a half years in prison and Willis was sentenced to nine years in prison on Thursday 1 October.
Latter’s sentencing had been postponed until today where he was handed a sentencing of 16 years which was reduced due to his guilty plea to 12 years imprisonment. Latter also received two years for money laundering which will run concurrently.
A police operation was instigated in September 2019 after a stolen Mercedes was identified travelling along the A30 and into Wadebridge, Cornwall.
Officers conducted a search of the area and located the vehicle. Kirk Hicken, who had initially fled the scene, was seen discarding a bag later found to contain 1.5kg of high purity cocaine with a potential street value of £118,000. He was subsequently arrested.
The extensive investigation was launched which identified a further two men – Anthony Latter and Jason Willis – both involved in the supply of high purity cocaine into West Cornwall.
Police were able to prove that the trio were involved in wholesale drugs distribution utilising in-depth data analysis. Extensive work was carried out revealing communication between Latter and Willis showing the arrangement of the delivery of cocaine from the West Midlands to Camborne.
Further examination of the phones seized showed Willis boasting that he was selling a kilo of cocaine every six weeks.
Officers from the Cornwall Pro-active Disruption Team travelled to Staffordshire and arrested Latter at his home address in Burntwood. During a series of warrants linked to Latter and Willis and their associates, £32,730 cash was found, later identified as coming from the sale of cocaine.
Senior Investigating Officer DCI Pete Found said: “We welcome today’s sentencing. The investigation team have worked tirelessly to bring this case to its final conclusion.
“Drug crime hasn’t ceased to operate throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and neither has the great police work that my officers continued to deliver.
“Officers travelled to the West Midlands, collaborating with specialist officers from Staffordshire and West Midlands Police which enabled the effective and successful arrest of two of the offenders. At this time simultaneous warrants were executed across West Cornwall.
“Drugs are a catalyst for many other crime types that blight our communities and harm society. We will not tolerate them and will continue to disrupt and tackle the illegal drugs market.”
Case officer DC Brown said: “In this case, those convicted set about flooding Cornwall’s streets with high purity drugs showing no concern for the damage it causes or the effect it has on other people’s lives, this was about greed and profiting from the vulnerable.
“Latter and Willis dealt in kilos and felt that they were untouchable. Warrants carried out in the West Midlands and Cornwall showed that not to be the case with both being arrested and held in custody until their guilty pleas were entered.
“We will continue to work tirelessly on disrupting serious organised crime, targeting those who choose to exploit others. The sentencing today reflects the level in which these individuals operate and goes some way in slowing down the supply of drugs across Cornwall.”
Anyone with information about drug dealing can contact Devon and Cornwall Police via firstname.lastname@example.org or by call 101. These reports are fed into police intelligence systems and help officers build a better picture of organised crime in the area.
You can also report information anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
If you have been affected by the above article, you can access information on drug and alcohol support on the following link: www.dc.police.uk/drugs-alcohol-support
You can also visit the Frank website to find local drug treatment services.