Our ACE team has successfully stripped them of cash and assets worth more than £325k.
Two Bristol men currently serving prison sentences for their involvement in organised crime groups in the city have been stripped of cash and assets worth more than £325k following work by the South West Regional Crime Unit (SW ROCU).
Jay Cowell, 43, who was convicted of drugs offences in March 2017 and Leon Murray, 31, who was found guilty of money laundering last October, have both attended confiscation hearings at Bristol Crown Court in the past week.
Cowell, who was described during his trial as living in an ‘Aladdin’s cave of wealth’, had a confiscation order of £175, 624 made against him on April 20.
Assets seized to meet the amount include a rare Porsche car valued at nearly £70k; watches worth £20k; Damien Hurst coffee sets and artwork worth £2k; designer clothing and accessories including 80-plus pairs of trainers worth £4k; as well as £20k cash. Two high performance Audi cars that other people have claimed part ownership of have been ordered to be sold so Cowell’s share can be seized.
Cowell, who lived in Gays Road in Hanham at the time of his arrest, was sentenced to 13-and-a-half years after being convicted of conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
Leon Murray’s confiscation hearing took place on Monday (April 23) where he was ordered to surrender cash and assets totalling £150k.
Nearly £40k held in four bank accounts will be put towards the total, together with £35k cash that was seized from his car when he was arrested in Emersons Green Retail Park last May.
Also seized were a £9k BMW car and 49 pairs of trainers and designer clothing worth £2k.
Murray pleaded guilty to money laundering charges on October 31 and was sentenced to two years and two months in prison.
The Criminal Finance Team is continuing to pursue confiscation orders against other members of the organised crime groups.
Paul Phillips, who leads the SW ROCU’s Asset Confiscation and Enforcement Team (ACE Team) said: “Both men were convicted as part of separate SW ROCU investigations, but moved in similar criminal circles.
“Cash and assets, including Cowell’s Porsche car that was only a month old at the time, were seized immediately by officers to ensure opportunities to strip him of property clearly funded through drug dealing weren’t missed.
“Everyone’s familiar with the stereotype of the flash drug dealer living a life of luxury while others work hard for a living. Both men led these lives, but by pursuing the confiscation orders we add to the prison sentence in a way that truly hurts them.”