Sheffield woman laundered money for South East Asian drugs gang

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South Yorkshire detectives have helped nail a gang which sold drugs across the UK.

The South East Asian organised crime group used an upmarket apartment in Belfast as a hub to distribute drugs across the UK.

Drugs, including herbal cannabis, were posted into Northern Ireland from outside the UK and then re-distributed.

Police swooped on an apartment in Belfast city centre in October 2014 and seized £560,000 worth of herbal cannabis, smaller quantities of other drugs, cash and equipment used in cannabis cultivation.

Police conducted a total of 12 searches, made seven arrests and interviewed 13 people during the investigation which was codenamed Operation Karhold.

On Friday, Haixia Guo, aged 31, of London Road, Sheffield, was given a 12 month sentence, suspended for two years, after she admitted a number of money laundering offences.

Three gang members who admitted their roles in the operation were sentenced at Laganside Courts, Belfast, today.

Illegal immigrant Hui Lin, 41, was jailed for five years after he admitted possession of Class A drugs, possession of herbal cannabis with intent to supply and importing cannabis. He was also sentenced to a total of three years, to run consecutively, for money laundering offences.

Juan Guan, 38, from Belfast, was jailed for three years after he admitted possession of herbal cannabis with intent to supply.

And llegal immigrant Yu Li, 32, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years behind bars after he admitted importing herbal cannabis and intending to supply it.

Detective Inspector Andy Dunlop, said: “This has been a lengthy and detailed investigation which began when we became aware of packages being sent from Spain in October 2014 and culminated in today’s sentencing.

“We have worked with colleagues in South Yorkshire Police and the Metropolitan Police along with the National Crime Agency to progress our enquiries and secure evidence to put before a court. The evidence was such that the defendants admitted the offences.

“Our investigation identified several bank accounts into which substantial amounts of money had been paid and then transferred. One account in the name of London student Ying Han Zhao had more than £66,000 lodged from Belfast in three months.

“Although this crime group based their activities in Belfast, their criminal reach spread to Great Britain and beyond. We believe we have taken down a major drugs supply network. The investigative reach by law enforcement has been extensive and effective.”