Drug-running gang jailed for nearly 100 years
A gang that plotted to flood the streets of the Westcountry with cocaine and heroin have been sentenced to a total of nearly 100 years behind bars.
Eight people were yesterday locked up for 45 years and one month for conspiring to bring drugs worth tens of thousands of pounds from Liverpool into the region.
That brings to 13 the number of members of the gang now incarcerated – for a total of 96 years and ten months – after a police investigation.
Judge Paul Darlow said the gang had brought "misery" to the streets of Plymouth.
Couriers made more than 100 trips between them to bring heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine, Plymouth Crown Court had heard. Street dealers then got in contact with addicts in the city via a number operated by another gang member back in Liverpool.
Carl Barlow, aged 22, of Savage Road, St Budeaux, was yesterday jailed for 11 years.
Alison Bates, aged 43, of Mintor Road, Liverpool, was jailed for three years and four months.
Karl Corson, aged 20, of Tresillian Street, Cattedown, was locked up for four years.
James Griffin, aged 20, of East Lancashire Road, Liverpool, was sentenced to four years and eight months.
Patrick Mooney, aged 22, of Berkshire Drive, Ford, Plymouth, was handed an eight year and one month sentence.
Joseph Pines, aged 22, of Archer Place, North Road West, Plymouth, was locked up for six years and eight months.
John Ward, aged 19, of Embankment Road, Plymouth, was sent down for three years and four months.
Finally Patrick White, aged 19, and of Wolseley Crescent, Liverpool, was sentenced to four years.
Barlow had denied conspiracy to supply Class A drugs between January 2011 and May last year, but was found guilty after trial. The other defendants sentenced yesterday had admitted the offence.
Five fellow plotters are already serving more than 50 years behind bars.
The jury heard during the five-week trial that Devon and Cornwall Police launched an investigation called Operation Rio early in 2011. Officers intercepted four couriers bringing drugs from Merseyside to Plymouth. In one car, they found heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine with a street value of £165,000.
The ringleader, Barbican antiques dealer Wayne Harle-Stephens, aged 56, has already been jailed for 14 years and nine months.