Two drug dealers from Swale and Maidstone have been jailed after conspiring to supply large quantities of class A drugs.

Between 26 March and 6 June 2020Robert Shearmur ran a criminal business with Harry Darke using an encrypted mobile phone.

They purchased multiple kilos of cocaine and ketamine which they sold on to other dealers to make a considerable profit.

The secure communication system was infiltrated by international enforcement agencies and incriminating details relating to organised criminals in the UK were passed to the National Crime Agency.

Detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate reviewed the data and were able to prove messages co-ordinating the movement of drugs using pseudonyms ‘Basilowl’ and ‘Lizardfoot’, were in fact Shearmur and Darke. The messages to each other also suggested they were planning to use their illegal gains in property development.

Shearmur was arrested on 9 November 2021 and a compressed block of ketamine was seized from the passenger footwell in his van. When his house was searched, officers recovered a Taser, pepper spray and a machete. Darke was detained on 15 November. Seized documents revealed the two men had a joint bank account that in 2021 contained £140,000.


Darke and Shearmur were later charged with being concerned in the supply of cocaine and being concerned in the supply of ketamine.

Examination of the transactions mentioned in their encrypted messages shows they traded around 20 kilos of cocaine and four kilos of ketamine over a 52-day period.

Shearmur, aged 34, and Darke, aged 27, pleaded guilty at Maidstone Crown Court. On Monday 10 October 2022, Shearmur was sentenced to 13 years and six months in jail and Darke was imprisoned for 12 years.

Detective Constable Freddie Elpass-Collins, of the Serious Organised Crime Unit, said: ‘These two men ran a highly profitable business supplying considerable quantities of drugs to other dealers.

‘They will have felt untouchable using an encrypted communication platform while seeking to launder their profits through property purchases. Their confidence was misjudged and they are now serving prison sentences.

‘We will of course be using the Proceeds of Crime Act to seek to recover cash and any other assets they acquired through their illegal activity.’

By Ed

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