Six sentenced for conspiracy to supply drugs in Somerset

26/02/2015

Today at Taunton Crown Court, five people were sentenced for their involvement in a drug and money laundering outfit. Another man was sentenced for his part in the scheme on 24 February.

"Following a lengthy investigation by Avon and Somerset police and consultation with me throughout, I authorised charges for ten defendants in relation to a conspiracy to supply Class A drugs in Bridgwater and the subsequent laundering of the proceeds.

"This was a professional, organised operation where those at the top of the hierarchy living in London exploited vulnerable teenagers, the youngest of which was 14 at the time of the offences, by sending them down to Bridgwater in order live among local drug users, sell drugs and return the resulting proceeds to them.

"Drug-related crime is corrosive it damages not only those involved in buying and selling and their families, but the communities in which they live.

"The sentences passed today illustrate the severity of these crimes and I hope this sends a warning to those who are involved, or are thinking of becoming involved, in drug-related crime.

"Working with police forces across the South West, the CPS will always seek to prosecute where there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to do so."

Sentences as follows:

  • Ahn Tuan Tran West - eight years' imprisonment (sentenced on 24 February)
  • Christopher Longe - six years' imprisonment in a young offenders' institution
  • Michael Boateng - two years' imprisonment, suspended for two years plus 300 hours unpaid work
  • Wayne Clist - two year community order, 22 months drug rehabilitation programme, monthly reviews for 12 months with twice-weekly drugs testing
  • A 17 year-old girl - 12 months' youth offending order plus six months of intensive surveilance and supervision
  • A 16-year-old boy - two year conditional discharge

Four further defendants will be sentenced next month:

Kevin Melody, Gail Talbot and Faith Jones-Alli will appear before Judge Ticehurst for sentencing on 27 March.

Gemma Duddridge was given conditional bail to allow for a pre-sentence report and will also be sentenced on 27 March.

Under the Proceeds of Crime Act (2002), confiscation orders have been made against Boateng and Tran-West. Boateng has assets of about £1,130, which he must pay within 28 days or face immediate imprisonment, and Tran-West must pay £1,005. Although the pair profited far in excess of these amounts, neither has the assets to cover the full amount of their criminal gains.