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15 sentenced after Sussex Police dismantles drugs ring

A long-term Sussex Police investigation has completely dismantled a complex drugs ring which was distributing heroin and cocaine across East Sussex, South East London and Kent.

It has also resulted in convictions of 16 people, including two ringleaders who have been convicted and on Friday 23 February were sentenced at Hove Crown Court to life imprisonment for conspiracy to murder.


Leo Ellis and Jason Caswell

Leo Ellis from Hastings and his associate Jason Caswell acted as main drug dealers supplying cocaine, and in Ellis’s case heroin too, across East Sussex and Kent. They ran a drugs ring supplying the area with illegal substances from their suppliers.

However the work of Sussex Police detectives identified this ring and the locations from where they ran their illegal operation. In a succession of major raids and arrests officers seized a large amount of drugs and cash over several months in 2015 and 2016.

You can see here some of the drugs that were seized during the arrests.

Drugs seized by Sussex Police

Because of our seizures by February 2016, Ellis and Caswell owed their dealers in excess of £850,000. Their inability to repay the debts was then worsened by further seizures of £92,475 cash and two kilos of cocaine we made within three days that month.

In total £1.4million in Class A drugs and £100,000 cash were seized by our officers working closely with the National Crime Agency.

Detectives continued their surveillance on them, as Ellis and Caswell came under increasing pressure to compensate their suppliers for the seizures. They used mobile phones to send emails discussing what had happened and what they were going to do about it.