65 years for South West drugs gang

08/07/2013

Today at Bristol Crown Court, six drug dealers were sentenced to serve a total of more than 65 years imprisonment.

Following an extensive investigation led by Zephyr, the regional serious and organised crime team, Curtis Brooks from Redland was sentenced to 14 years, Tobias Weeks of Oxford was sentenced to 10 years and Danny Taylor from South London was given a sentence of seven years and six months.

All were found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs following a seven and a half week trial led by prosecution counsel Steven Money and CPS Crown Advocate Richard Posner.

Mark Gold from Swansea, Mihovil Raos, a Croatian national living in Fulham and Rabi Edukali a Libyan national living in Clifton, pleaded guilty prior to the trial and were sentenced to seven years four months, six years eight months and 20 years, respectively.

Richard Posner said: "The CPS worked closely with the Zephyr team, as well as Avon and Somerset police and the UK Border Agency, throughout this lengthy and rigorous investigation into organised drug crime in the Bristol area.

"The supply of drugs can have devastating and wide reaching effects on whole communities. The CPS is committed to making our communities safer by disrupting organised criminal networks like this one and in turn reducing the availability of drugs on the streets.

"Todays sentencing sends out a clear message that drug crime will not be tolerated. Working with the police, the CPS will always seek to prosecute where there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to do so."

Earlier this year, following a linked trial at Bristol Crown court, Wayne Murray was sentenced to 10 years, Deraine Felix received a four year sentence, Julian Wright four years and Kristopher James was sentenced to nine years (six years for conspiracy and three years for possession with intent, to run consecutively).

The investigation, codenamed Operation Arrow, was centred on Bristol in 2011 and concluded with arrests in January 2012.

Inspector Oliver Cosgrove from Trinity Road Police Station said: "This has been an extremely complex and difficult investigation but one we know will send a strong message to organised crime groups across the country.

"We are committed to pursuing those at the top of drug dealing networks, which cause the most harm to our communities. Bristol is a safer place to be now that these men are behind bars."

On May 27 2011 a Renault Clio driven by Wayne Murray was stopped on the M32 coming into Bristol from London and firearms officers found half a kilo of cocaine in his car. This was found to be 98 per cent pure, some of the highest purity ever seized. This seizure was dealt with by the force's Serious Crime Group led by DC Martin Parsons.

In July a Range Rover driving towards London from Bristol was stopped by Wiltshire officers on the M4, where Danny Taylor was arrested following the discovery of more than £50,000 wrapped in a plastic bag in the front passenger foot well.

A further consignment of cocaine with a value of more than £620,000 was seized in November 2011 in a camper van driven by Marc Gold and Mihovil Raos, when Zephyr officers stopped it in the Fishponds area of Bristol. In December 2011 officers seized another half kilo of cocaine at a property in St Michael's Hill when Rabie Edukali was arrested in possession of cocaine nearby.

In January 2012 firearms officers raided a property in Southmead, where Curtis Brooks was arrested in possession of a large amount of cash. Mobile phones and cocaine were also recovered from the flat.

Acting Detective Inspector Jonathan Bancroft praised the support given by the communities in Bristol: "The destruction of this organised crime group is just the start. We will now strip these individuals of every penny we have linked to their profiting from peddling misery and preying on the vulnerable in Bristol. That money will then go to hopefully try and make good some of the harm they have caused. This was a team result but without the eyes and ears of people in Bristol, we would never have succeeded."