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Rapper Nines has been jailed for 28 months after admitting that he tried to import cannabis into the UK from the continent.

Nines – real name Courtney Leon Freckleton – 31, from Barbican in the City of London, was arrested after a huge investigation connected to multiple properties across the capital and Hertfordshire.

He was sentenced at Harrow Crown Court on Friday, October 1, following his arrest in June for conspiracy to import cannabis and conspiracy to supply cocaine.

Nines admitted conspiracy to import cannabis and money laundering charges in August but denied conspiracy to supply cannabis and cocaine. Those charges were then dropped by CPS and no further action was taken in respect to them.

The dad of two appeared in the dock in an unbuttoned white shirt, with longer hair and beard than previous appearances.

Sentenced alongside him today was his co-conspirator and business partner, 35-year-old Jason Thompson, from Barnet, North London, who also pleaded guilty to the same charges and was jailed for 28 months.

Today the court heard that Freckleton was a "senior partner" in the enterprise, with associates referring to him as "Big Boss" in messages.

Their arrests came after cyber cops hacked into encrypted messages they'd been sending on Encrochat, where the pair boasted that they had "a huge market in the UK".

Nines – who wrote boxer Anthony Joshua's entrance music – helped import 28kg of cannabis worth £280k from Poland and Spain, using Bitcoin to close deals.

Charges relating to the supplying of cannabis and cocaine were dropped for both defendants back in August.

Freckleton's sensational fall from grace follows a truly impressive rise to fame that saw him bag two MOBO awards last autumn. The star won prizes in the Album of the Year and Best Hip-Hop Act categories.

Freckleton burst onto the scene back in 2017, when he released his debut album One Foot Out Back, which charted in the top 4 of the UK Albums Chart.

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He has also branched out into film-making and released the short Crop Circles before releasing an album carrying the same name in 2018.

From Church Road To Hollywood was his debut mixtape, hitting the rap underworld nine years ago. His latest full-length record, Crabs In A Bucket, was released three years ago.

Prior to his success, Freckleton had a difficult childhood, suffering the horrific trauma of his brother being murdered.

The rapper was previously jailed for 18 months for possession with intent to supply cannabis.

In mitigation, the defence said Freckleton was "deeply ashamed" at having let people down and claimed he has a "great heart" as evidence by his extensive community work in Brent and across London with young people.

The judge acknowledged that his character references "were some of the best I've ever read".

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  • Crime
  • Drugs
  • London

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