Hove drugs baron ordered to pay £0.8m

Posted On 30 Mar 2010 at 7:56 pm

A drugs baron who planned to flood the streets of Brighton and Hove with cocaine has been ordered to pay back £866,250 of his ill-gotten gains.

Lorenzo Sirignano, the head of a drugs gang, is already serving 21 years in jail for drug trafficking and money laundering.

Today, Brighton Crown Court gave him six months to pay the amount police estimate his crime network made, or face four more years in prison.

Sirignano, 53, ran his empire from 1 Carlisle Road, Hove, which he called his office. He also owned properties around the city where he stored drugs and whose tenants he recruited as drugs couriers or runners.

He would use them to send his money out of the country to pay for the drugs and then to collect the drugs for him from Brazil or Ghana.

The method for getting the drugs back into the country was to secrete them within the lining and structure of suitcases, which were collected by the couriers with the drugs already within.

Sirignano’s network of distributors would sell these drugs at a mark up of up to ten times the price he had paid.

When he and 16 others were arrested in February 2007, police found drugs, mainly cocaine, with a street value of £3.5million.

Today’s confiscation orde, granted by Judge Tain, was the largest Sussex Police has ever realised.

Senior Investigating Officer Detective Chief Inspector Graves said, “This confiscation comes nearly two years after Sirignano’s conviction for serious drug trafficking offences.

“In between the case has been painstakingly put together by one of our expert Financial Investigators to whom all credit is due.

“I am delighted with the outcome; this massively reinforces the message to criminals that not only can they expect significant prison sentences for trafficking Class A drugs but they can also expect to lose any profit made which not only impacts on them but may also affect their families.

“The public should be reassured that the focus is well and truly on those in our communities who lead lavish lifestyles financed by illegal activity.”

Sirignano, formerly of Ferndale Road, Burgess Hill, invested his profit into property and cars, and these were seized ahead of today’s hearing.

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