A Crewe gang, once seen as untouchable, were turning drug cash into gold are paying the price for their illegal activities after they were sentenced to a combined total of 11 years and eight months.
Since September 2010 Cheshire Police detectives have been investigating the activities of an organised crime group led by Bobby Palin (24) previously of Smith Grove in Crewe. It was believed that they were supplying class A & B drugs into the Crewe community.
Following a lengthy investigation, officers discovered that the group had been travelling to the heart of Birmingham′s jewellery quarter to buy gold bars for cash earned through dealing illegal drugs on the streets of Crewe.
As the investigation went on it was clear they were going to the same jewellers in Birmingham′s jewellery quarter to launder between £7,000 and £14,000 a time by buying fine gold ingots.
Officers intercepted the gang twice after they visited the shop, on both occasions the gang had converted fine gold ingots into large amounts of cash.
When they were stopped by police on the M6 on 4 April 2011, Bobby Palin was in the car with Andrew Arrowsmith & Shane Arrowsmith. They had been to Birmingham to exchange two gold bars valued at £13,900. They were arrested, the cash was seized and the men were later charged with money laundering offences.
The following day officers observed one of the gang members, Carl Arrowsmith, (29), going back down to Birmingham with four gold bars valued at £27,650 . He was caught in the back yard of the shop, arrested and the cash was seized. He was later charged with money laundering.
At the beginning of the operation the gang converted cash by buying fine gold ingots, towards the end of the operation the gang started selling the gold ingots back to the jewellers for cash.
On 13 July 2011 officers conducted a coordinated dawn raid on five separate addresses in Crewe. They arrested Bobby Palin (24), Shane Arrowsmith (30), Nigel Dunn (33), Andrew Arrowsmith (31), Carl Arrowsmith (29) and Kenneth Washington (42).
They were subsequently charged with offences including money laundering and class A drug offences.
In all, a total of £62,365 was converted into 2.25 kilos of fine gold.
The total amount seized to date off the gang is £42,062.67 in cash but a financial investigation into their assets is currently underway to track down and seize any further money obtained through their illegal exploits.
On 30 September 2011 at Chester Crown Court Shane Arrowsmith from Richard Moon Street, Crewe pleaded guilty to money laundering, Nigel Dunn from Samuel Street, Crewe pleaded guilty to supplying Class A drugs and Andrew Arrowsmith from Beckford Close, Crewe pleaded guilty to possession of Class A drugs and money laundering.
On 9th December at Liverpool Crown Court Bobby Palin pleaded guilty to money laundering, Carl Arrowsmith from Badger Ave pleaded guilty to acquiring criminal property namely cash in relation to the proceeds of crime act and Kenneth Washington from Enderleigh St, Newcastle Under Lyne pleaded guilty to acquiring criminal property namely cash in relation to the proceeds of crime act.
On 19 January 2012 Bobby Palin was sentenced to three years and four months, Shane arrowsmith was sentenced to three years and four months, Nigel Dunn was sentenced to three years and four months, and Andrew Arrowsmith was sentenced to one year and eight months.
Carl Arrowsmith was sentenced to 140 hours community service and Kenneth Washington was sentenced to 120 hours community service order.
DC Gareth Wynne said: "The officers involved in the case spent 18 months gathering enough evidence to convict the gang. The gang, headed by Palin were seen to be out of the reach of the police by certain areas of the community. Our hard work has finally paid off and Crewe residents will see a gang of men who have been a blight on the community behind bars. This investigation has struck at the heart of this group by removing the hierarchy who organise the drug supply and reap the benefits from the profits generated.
"This shows that we will do everything we can to make Cheshire a safer place and sends out a clear message to those who think they are above the law that we will bring you to justice."