By Emily Ledger
Rapper, Nines, who topped UK album charts last year with his third solo album ‘Crabs in a Bucket’, has admitted his role in plots to illegally import cannabis from Spain and Poland.
The musician, 31, whose real name is Courtney Freckleton, was arrested on 3rd June following the infiltration of an encrypted messaging platform and raids at properties in London and Hertfordshire.
He was arrested alongside 35-year-old Jason Thompson and both were charged with conspiracy to import a controlled Class B drug with intent to avoid a prohibition/restriction between March 10 and July 3 last year.
Other charges laid against the men include conspiracy to supply a Class A substance (cocaine) and a Class B drug (cannabis), and conspiracy to conceal, disguise, convert, transfer, or remove criminal property.
Freckleton and Thompson yesterday pleaded guilty to two of the charges: plans to import cannabis into the UK from Poland and Spain, in addition to plans to transfer criminally collected cash. The pair’s plot to import cannabis involved one successful operation and one failed attempt.
The prosecutor, Genevieve Reed, told the BBC that the plot had involved 28kg of cannabis while the money laundering charge related to a £98,000 debt, in addition to the value of the drugs.
However, the pair denied counts of conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis. Ms Reed has also revealed that prosecutors will not be seeking a trial on those charges.
The operation which resulted in the arrests are believed to have stemmed from the successful infiltration of encrypted messaging service Encrochat. The messaging network had been used by criminals around the world before being hacked by French investigators last year.
Following the pair’s plea, sentencing was adjourned and both men have been remanded in custody.
Nines topped the UK album chart last year with his third album and was also named best hip hop act at last year’s Mobo Awards.