A DRUG dealer has been jailed for eight years for his involvement in a large-scale organised crime group.

Kane Bryne, 30, was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court on Monday (March 11) for four counts, two of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, one conspiracy to supply Class B drugs and one conspiracy to acquire or possess criminal property.

The court heard that the organised crime group, in which Bryne had a ‘leading role’, was involved in delivering and selling wholesale blocks of cocaine across the county.

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Police were able to catch Bryne – and several other defendants involved – by analysing the ‘EncroChats’ between the group members.

The device used a communications network that crooks believed to be un-hackable until French police cracked the phone company’s servers in 2020.

Officers discovered a ‘safe house’ in June 2020, two flats in the same building in Bicester Road, Kidlington, and inside police found 340g of cannabis, £5,409 in cash, and wrappings thought to have come from five 1kg vacuum-packed blocks of cocaine.

Inside the other flat, the police found Byrne as well as a large safe, three money-counting machines, equipment used to vacuum seal packages and more than £70,000 in cash.

The two flats were described as being the ‘heart’ of the organised crime group’s ‘logistics hub’.

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Sentencing Byrne, of Willow Court, Headington, Judge Michael Gledhill said: “I’m not going to rehearse the gravity of this case.

“I take into account the delays throughout the case and I also take into account your personal mitigation.

“You’ve been out of trouble for a very long time and you seem to have led an honest life until you became involved in this organised crime group.

“I’ve read the letter from you in which you express your remorse in getting involved in these conspiracies and the roles you played in them.

“I accept that you intend to live an honest life upon your release.”

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Several other men have also been sentenced in connection with the organised crime group including Benjamin Hepburn, a former Didcot Town player who as a youth played for Fulham.

The 35-year-old, who has previously done time for growing cannabis and knifing a student in a drug deal gone awry, was recruited to pass on dirty cash from couriers responsible for delivering wholesale blocks of cocaine and collecting the money and the crime gang’s middle management.

He was jailed for seven years and two months in September last year for conspiracy to supply class A drugs and conspiracy to acquire criminal property.