A Luton drug dealer who videoed himself flaunting his illicitly gained wealth by pouring champagne over Rolex watches at an exclusive London club was jailed on Friday, December 3, 2021.
Mansoor Kiani, 28, of Carlton Crescent, attempted to hide his drug dealing activities by using an encrypted communication system which was later cracked by police.
His trial this week was also shown a video recorded on Kiani’s phone of him being driven around in a Ferrari, in a further illustration of the showbiz lifestyle he funded through drug dealing.
At the conclusion of a three-day trial at Luton Crown Court, Kiani was jailed for 15 years and six months after being found guilty of conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine.
This followed a Bedfordshire Police investigation under its Operation Costello organised crime crackdown, which found he was a wholesale supplier of the class A substances.
In the UK’s biggest ever law enforcement operation in spring 2020, data uncovered following the seizure of servers linked to the Encrochat platform – an encrypted tool used exclusively by criminals to communicate with each other – allowed investigators to view messages and other media sent between users as they discussed large-scale criminality such as the movement of drugs and weapons.
Using this data, detectives in Bedfordshire were subsequently able to establish that Kiani was behind one of the handles on the system, uncovering conversations between him and various other users relating to the distribution of cocaine and heroin.
Messages showed Kiani arranging meetings with drugs and cash couriers, coordinating payments to those supplying him with the drugs, and arranging codewords for use during exchanges.
Investigators were able to link Kiani to the handle and corroborate this by showing the location of the encrypted device as it connected to mobile phone masts as it moved, perfectly matching the location of his other, non-encrypted phone.
In one exchange of messages, he discussed renewing his subscription to the Encrochat system, as he arranged to meet a criminal associate in an orange buggy in central Luton for it to be extended.
A video showed to the court demonstrated how Kiani paraded his wealth gained from selling the drugs, as he poured champagne over Rolex watches at a club in Knightsbridge.
He was arrested in November 2020 and the following month was charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine and conspiracy to supply heroin.
Detective Inspector Tom Stean, from Bedfordshire Police’s Operation Costello team – which is dedicated to tackling the major players involved in the importation and distribution of drugs locally, said: “There is no doubt that Kiani was behind the distribution of multiple kilogrammes of cocaine and heroin, something which will have no doubt had a significant and harmful impact across our communities.
“We know that drugs fuel widespread criminality, from gang violence and exploitation by those involved in importing and selling, to users driven to robbery and burglary crime to raise money to feed their addictions.
“Op Costello is not looking at street dealers; we are going after the big players involved in fuelling local drugs markets. These individuals are funding lavish lifestyles off the back of violence, exploitation and the misery of others.
“Kiani’s money was made entirely from illegal activity. I am sure many others will feel sick watching him parade his wealth in this video, and share my satisfaction that he is now facing a lengthy prison sentence.
“Unexplained wealth and expensive items bought via cash are key indicators that someone may be involved in organised crime. You can help us catch these people by speaking up and reporting any concerns.”
Anyone with information about drug dealing or wider organised crime activity can report it via Bedfordshire.police.uk/report or by calling 101.
All of these reports are fed into police intelligence and can help detectives build up a picture of organised crime, even if police do not act on the information straight away.
You can also report information anonymously via Crimestoppers its website or by calling 0800 555 111.
For more information about the response to organised crime in Bedfordshire and where to get support visit bavex.co.uk
What is Operation Costello?
Operation Costello is the largest operation in Bedfordshire Police’s history to combat organised crime gangs and is the force’s response to the national Operation Venetic, which looks at criminality associated with specialist encrypted phones.
Cracking the encryption on these specialist devices has enabled police to shine a light on the networks suspected of being involved in the highest levels of serious and organised crime across the country.
Around £3.6 million of special grant funding has recently been awarded to Operation Costello by the government to tackle the extraordinary challenges posed locally by organised crime. This is in addition to the £2.1 million already pledged towards the running of the operation this year.
Since Operation Costello was launched 18 months ago, more than 65 people have been arrested and 120 warrants carried out, with nearly 100 kilos of Class A drugs and more than £1 million in assets seized in Luton alone by Bedfordshire Police and the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit.