Cannabis dealer takes Costello sentences past 300 years
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A major cannabis grower and dealer is facing more than five years behind bars.
The sentence handed out to Aaron Lovelock means Bedfordshire Police’s biggest ever organised crime crackdown has now secured jail terms of more than 300 years for serious offenders.
Messages on the encrypted Encrochat mobile phone network showed Lovelock discussing large quantities of cannabis and arranging major cannabis grows to be dismantled.
When police arrested the 36-year-old in August last year, officers also found cocaine with a potential street value of almost £15,000.
Investigators from the force’s dedicated organised crime enforcement team Operation Costello were able to prove that Lovelock was behind the “thatballerswaz” alias on Encrochat.
This included linking photos on his Encrochat device and his personal mobile, while “thatballerswaz” was referred to as "Aron" by others on the network which was used exclusively by criminals.
Lovelock’s criminal activity was tracked by police right the way across the south of the country.
Lovelock, of Hill Farm Way, Brighton, pleaded guilty to a series of drugs supply charges and was yesterday (Wednesday) jailed for five years and three months.
Detective Sergeant Tracey Joyce, from Operation Costello, said: “This marks another significant milestone in the work of our tireless Operation Costello investigators.
“Serious players involved in drug dealing on an industrial scale are being put behind bars, dismantling a substantial number of criminal networks in the process.
“Illegal drugs ruin lives and communities. Cutting off major suppliers is a crucial part of a plan that will protect children and other vulnerable people from exploitation and keep all of our communities safer.”