A gang of women drug dealers who dressed up as moped couriers with pink backpacks to deliver highs across London over lockdown have been jailed for a total of 37 years.
While many people were staying indoors due to COVID-19 restrictions, the team of four women buzzed around the capital delivering to customers from a “candy shop” list of 90 party drugs.
Each of the women, all Brazilian nationals aged 24 to 33, wore a courier uniform, with distinctive pink backpacks, each with a “team” number written on (1, 2, 3 and 4), and a different coloured wallet inside with the driver’s name on.
Paid £220 a day, they communicated with customers over Signal and sold drugs including cocaine, MDMA, crystal meth, LSD, cannabis sweets, ketamine, 2CB, prescription pills and magic mushrooms. The gang also sold their own heart shaped ecstasy pills which they pressed.
Delivery was offered from Monday to Saturday between 1PM and 10PM from distribution centres in Notting Hill and South Kensington, in west London. They had Sundays off.
The gang, which made £90,000 profit per month on the retail side alone, was overseen by fellow Brazilian, Tiago Thomaz De-Lima, who ordered the drugs in bulk and sold wholesale to other dealers using an encrypted Encrochat phone, which was the gang’s undoing.
De-Lima and his crew, Vanessa Ananias, Andressa Santos, Nayara Robeiro and Nayene Fernandez-Silva were busted as part of Operation Venetic, a series of arrests of drug gangs and organised crime groups (OCGs) carried out after police took over the encrypted network.
Police found images of kilogram blocks of cocaine on De-Lima’s mobile phone and evidence of him selling fake IDs, moving people out of the country by helicopter and bribing a prison officer. A sixth member of the gang, Larissy Nascimento, acted as a bookkeeper, documenting transactions and providing breakdowns of earnings for two of the four delivery teams.
After being raided in February, police recovered £2m worth of drugs and three firearms. Officers found pre-packed pink rucksacks containing drugs worth between £5,000 and £10,000.
The group of five were sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday after pleading guilty in May. De-Lima received 18 years jail and the delivery women were sentenced to between 4 and a half and six years. The bookkeeper will be sentenced next month.
In April last year, VICE World News revealed how drug dealers were dressing up as joggers, delivery drivers and nurses to sell heroin and crack over lockdown.