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Drug lord from Rainham given four more years in jail

PUBLISHED: 12:30 09 February 2016 | UPDATED: 12:30 09 February 2016

Joseph Ashman. Picture: National Crime Agency

Joseph Ashman. Picture: National Crime Agency

Archant

A drug lord who smuggled £23 million worth of cannabis into Britain must serve an extra four years in jail for employing his wife and sister to launder his cash.

Joseph Ashman, 47, led a network of drug smugglers in Rainham who imported 4.5 tonnes of the drug.

He was jailed for eight years and eight months in January last year after admitting conspiracy to supply drugs and money laundering.

Twelve of his criminal network were also jailed for a total of 66 years.

Ashman, of Lambs Lane, Rainham, was sentenced yesterday for four counts of money laundering after a month-long trial at the Old Bailey. The sentence will run consecutively with his existing term.

More than £122,900 was washed through the account of his 49-year-old wife Mandy while his sister Mary Dunn, 54, also let him channel funds through her bank.

Ashman set up two fictitious firms to appear as legitimate enterprises.

Mandy Ashman was convicted of two counts of money laundering, but acquitted of a third charge, while her sister-in-law was convicted of one charge.

The couple’s son, Patrick Ashman, was acquitted of money laundering for paying cash into a fake business.

Sentencing Ashman, judge Richard Hone said: “From the age of 13 you’ve been a career criminal and seem to be proud of it.”

He continued: “You took care to mingle contaminated money from criminal activity with legitimate income. Your previous convictions significantly aggravate your culpability. You are remorseless, greedy and acquisitive.”

Dunn and Mandy Ashman were bailed and will be sentenced on April 15.

Ashman was linked to notorious drug trafficker Kevin Hanley who was jailed for more than 17 years in 2014.

His gang were arrested one by one following a two-year investigation by the National Crime Agency. He was arrested in early 2014.

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