A convicted drug dealer from Tunbridge Wells has been told he must pay back more than £300,000 in criminal gains following a court order made through the Proceeds of Crime Act.

William Ferguson is serving a prison sentence of thirteen-and-a-half-years for the wholesale supply of cocaine across Kent and faces an additional three years if he fails to pay.

Ferguson was part of an organised network of criminals who bought and sold Class A drugs in vast volumes and whose crimes were facilitated by the encrypted phone platform, EncroChat. Between March and June 2020, he repeatedly purchased kilogram blocks of cocaine, as part of a conspiracy with other EncroChat users.

He was sentenced in January 2022 having pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiracy to supply drugs, which also included amphetamine and cannabis.

After he was sentenced, financial investigators used powers contained within the Proceeds of Crime Act, which lets police claw back money and assets which offenders have gained from their criminal activities. The legislation can be used again if the offenders come into further assets.

On 5 June 2024, a confiscation order hearing was held at Maidstone Crown Court, where it was determined that Ferguson, 29, had benefited from his criminal conduct by £769,812. His current available assets amounted to £311,007 and Ferguson has been given three months to pay the full amount.

Serious Crime Directorate

Detective Inspector Dave Godfrey, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said:

‘Ferguson occupied a lead role in a criminal network supplying cocaine on a commercial scale.

‘Whilst in 2022 he was rightly given a significant prison sentence, since then we have undertaken several months of painstaking investigation to ensure he has been unable to benefit from his crimes.

‘This court order allows us to permanently seize assets in Ferguson’s name, which include funds restrained in several bank accounts, and money we have raised at auctions through the sale of designer clothing and handbags that he had purchased.

‘Where possible, some of the money we have clawed back will be redistributed to our local communities for everyone’s benefit.’ 

By Ed

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