‘STAGGERING’ DRUGS PLOT
26-strong gang sentenced to total of 172 years in prison for industrial-scale supply across N.Wales
AGANG whose members flooded North Wales with cocaine on “an industrial scale” have been locked up for a total of almost 173 years.
The 26-strong group from Rhyl, Holyhead, Mochdre, Llandudno Junction, as well as the Liverpool and Greater Manchester area, were snared by North Wales Police’s Operation Zeus, which tailed them for more than two years.
On Thursday, the third day of sentencing, seven people were given almost 34 years in total as part of a major drugs conspiracy enveloping the North Wales coastal strip and the north-west of England.
It brings the total sentences given out in the trial to 172 years and 11 months.
A police source claimed it was the largest aggregate sentence from a single trial in living memory – with the man described as the head of the operation, Aled Gray, still to be sentenced in January 2019.
It brought to an end three days of testimony, mitigation and sentencing for an operation that spanned almost the entire coastal section of North Wales. All those sentenced in that time pleaded guilty to at least being involved in a conspiracy to supply cocaine.
The court heard from prosecutor Andrew Jones that two groups, one from Holyhead and one from Llandudno, had teamed up with satellites in Rhyl and Colwyn Bay to form a consortium.
They were supplied by associates in Manchester and Liverpool – Manchester supplying cocaine and heroin and Liverpool supplying what were described as “industrial amounts” of mixing agents such as benzocaine.
One shipment contained almost 48kg of the drug which, when mixed at a purity of 13% would yield cocaine with a street value of £1.9m. Police estimated the value of drug transactions they were aware of to be in the region of £2.7m.
Drug seizures made in the operation included heroin with a street value of £70,700, cocaine and cash, plus cannabis with a street value of £12,500.
Weapons were recovered and covert recordings from within a motor vehicle showed that members of the crime syndicates were prepared to use violence if required.
The purity of flake cocaine seized was between 73-90%. More was seized after it had been mixed with benzocaine and lactose with a 13% purity.
During the operation, which lasted from October 2015 to November 2017, 1.88kg of cocaine was seized and numerous meetings where drugs were exchanged were observed by undercover officers.
The operation began after police were called to an unrelated incident at the Boston Arms pub in Holyhead in September 2015. It was a base for the gang along with the Dublin Packet in the town, both owned by Aled Gray, the head of the Holyhead operation. There they found 248 grams of cocaine at 90% purity and a holdall containing £4,000 in cash.
Judge Niclas Parry in his general sentencing remarks described the operation as “staggering”.
He said: “The value of the drugs by drug experts is in the range of £2.7m. The amount of drugs involved can only be described as staggering, or potentially staggering. The affected areas of North Wales are Holyhead, Llandudno and Rhyl.”
● Jordan Peeks, 37, known as George, of Mallow Street, Hulme, Manchester, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis.
● Phillip Scarisbrick, 37, of Moss Gate Road, Liverpool, was sentenced to nine-and-a-half years for conspiracy to supply cocaine.
● Lee Bamber, 45, of Cholmondley Road, Salford, was said to be a courier for Jordan Peeks, meeting with representatives of the Holyhead and Llandudno groups. He was sentenced to six years in jail for conspiracy to supply cocaine.
● Cain Jones, 23, of Bodlondeb Terrace, Holyhead. Judge Parry deemed him to have a leading role and sentenced him to 12 years in jail for conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin.
● Lee Eastham Jones, 28, of Elwy Gardens, Llandudno, sentenced to eight years in prison for conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis.
● Matthew Jones, 28, of Hazelwood Close, Colwyn Bay, controlled the Llandudno crime group. He was described as playing a lead role in the “consortium” and was sentenced to 12 years jail for conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis.
● William Carlisle, 27, of Abergele Road, Colwyn Bay, was sentenced to 10-and-a-half years for conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis.
● Richard Blake Williams, 25, of Cleveland Crescent, Holyhead, was concerned in the supply of heroin and cocaine in Holyhead. He was convicted of conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin and was sentenced to 10 years in prison by Judge Parry.
● Jay Peeks, 33, of Mallow Street, Salford was sentenced to six-and-a-half years for conspiracy to supply cocaine.
● Liam Roberts, 30, of Seabank Road, Rhyl. The judge took into account his barrister Duncan Bould saying Roberts has mental health problems and has not reacted well to life inside. Judge Parry sentenced him to fourand-a-half years in jail.
● Despite arrests being made, two of the conspirators, ex-partners Christopher Bennett and Hayley Evans, carried on dealing cocaine around Colwyn Bay.
Evans, 29, of Ffordd y Maer, Mochdre, was jailed for two years for the main conspiracy to supply cocaine and a consecutive 12-month term for conspiring to supply cocaine with her ex-partner, making three years in total.
Bennett, 35, of Beech Mount, Colwyn Bay, was sentenced to four years and eight months for his part in the main conspiracy to supply cocaine, and a further 18 months for the conspiracy to supply cocaine with his expartner Evans, making a total sentence of six years and four months.
● David Cuffin, 42, of Ponthwfa Terrace, Holyhead. His address was used to “store, adulterate and re-manufacture class A” drugs, according to the prosecution.
He received six years and nine months for conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin.
● Thomas Middleton, 23, of Beach Close, Holyhead, provided distribution for the western arm of the group and was also supplying considerable amounts of MDMA.
He was sentenced to four years and six months for the main conspiracy to supply cocaine, and a further two years to run consecutively for possessing MDMA with intent to supply, making six and a half years in total.
● Eric Rowlands, 48, of Tara Street, Holyhead, was jailed for five years and four months.
● Gareth Hastie, 37, of Abergele Road, Colwyn Bay, was found guilty of producing cannabis and conspiracy to supply cocaine, and was sentenced to five years and four months.
● James Hendry, 42, of Lon Goed, Llandudno Junction, was arrested in a caravan on his drive which was being used to “adulterate” the cocaine to a lesser purity ready for sale. Hendry received a sentence of five years and four months.
● Andrew Aldred, 31, of Hawarden Road, Colwyn Bay. Judge Parry sentenced him to five years and four months for his part in the conspiracy to supply cocaine.
● Nathan Jeavons, 25, of Cwrt Elin, Erw Wen Road, Colwyn Bay, was described as another “trusted distributor” of cocaine.
His basis of plea was accepted and he was sentenced to six years and four months in jail.
● Ben Hayward, 24, of Maes Llan, Eglwysbach, Colwyn Bay, was a downstream supplier responsible for moving “significant amounts of cocaine” said the prosecution. He was sentenced to four years for his part in the conspiracy to supply cocaine.
● Shaun Kearns, 46, of Swindon Close, Liverpool. Judge Parry said: “You were involved in this conspiracy for a short time but you would have been aware of what was happening here.”
Kearns was sentenced to three years and 10 months in jail for conspiracy to supply cocaine.
● Darren Myles, 42, of Windsor View, Toxteth, Liverpool, was trans- porting benzocaine to North Wales with Scarisbrick. He was stopped by police with two cardboard barrels containing 47.5kg of the drug in his transit van.
Judge Parry said: “Your case is more serious as you were carrying large amounts of benzocaine. You were sentenced to 54 months in custody for supplying drugs and you were on licence for that when you committed this offence.”
He was sentenced to nine years for his part in the conspiracy to supply cocaine.
● Zach Leuty, 29, of Lake Avenue, Rhyl, was said to be the head of the Rhyl arm of the distribution operation. There were numerous incidences recorded by police of him contacting Matty Jones and William Carlisle who ran operations around Colwyn Bay and Llandudno. He was sentenced to six years for conspiracy to supply cocaine with his suspended sentence activated to run concurrently.
● Simon Farrar, 39, of Ffordd y Maer, Mochdre, Conwy, was recorded discussing “prices and strategy” as part of another covert operation called Ulysses.He received a sentence of four years and eight months.
● Kelly Mercer, 29, of Maes Derw, Llandudno Junction, was said to suffer from mental health difficulties and her counsel Mr James Coutts pleaded for leniency and a possible suspended sentence from Judge Parry as she had a small child. The Judge sentenced her to 18 months custody for conspiracy to supply cocaine.
● Barry Haigh, 36, of Tan yr Efail, HolyheadJudge Parry said: “The role that you played is properly described as a significant role. There was an involvement with serious conspirators.” He was sentenced to four years and six months for his part in the conspiracy to supply cocaine.
● All those sentenced will serve half of their time and will remain on licence for the rest, meaning if they commit an offence they will be recalled to jail to finish their sentence in full.
Cain Jones of Holyhead was jailed for 12 years for his ‘leading’ role in a major drugs conspiracy