Drugs gang jailed for more than 90 years - Didcot

08/01/2016

Ten members of a drugs gang have been jailed for a combined total of 91 years and 11 months for offences connected to the supply of drugs from the Didcot area.

The sentencing of eight members of the gang took place today, Friday, 08 January 2016, at Oxford Crown Court as follows:

Neil Wadley, aged 47, of Pound Lane, Upton, Didcot, pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiracy to supply a class A drug (cocaine), one count of conspiracy to supply a class A drug (MDMA), three counts of conspiracy to supply a class B drug (cannabis), one count of conspiracy to supply a class B drug (amphetamine) and one count of conspiracy to supply a class B drug (methoxetamine). He was sentenced to 17 years imprisonment.

Gary De'Oliveira, aged 35, of London Road, Newbury, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to supply a class A drug (cocaine). He was sentenced to six years nine months imprisonment.

Gary Hunt, aged 39, of Church Street, Didcot, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to supply a class A drug (cocaine) and one count of conspiracy to supply a class B drug (cannabis). He was sentenced to eight and a half years imprisonment.

Vasil Rica, aged 36, of Southchurch Avenue, Southend on Sea, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to supply a class A drug (cocaine). He was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment.

Paul Blair, aged 34, of Hazel Close, Abingdon, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to supply a class A drug (cocaine) and one count of conspiracy to supply a class B drug (cannabis). He was sentenced to six years four months imprisonment.

Glen Beasley, aged 44, of Somerset, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to supply a class B drug (cannabis). He was sentenced to three years four months imprisonment.

Errol Brown, aged 52, of Didcot, Oxfordshire, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to supply a class A drug (MDMA). He was sentenced to six years imprisonment.

Arthur DeSousa, aged 48, of Dee Road, Tilehurst, was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to supply a class A drug (cocaine) after a 7-week trial, which started at Oxford Crown Court on 26 October 2015. He was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.

Two members of the gang were sentenced at earlier hearings as follows:

Andrew Bowden, aged 44, of Hundred Foot Bank, Welney, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to supply a class A drug (cocaine) and one count of conspiracy to supply a class B drug (cannabis) after a 7-week trial, which started at Oxford Crown Court on 26 October 2015.  He was sentenced 22 December 2015, to 15 years imprisonment.

William Alexander, aged 53, of Troon, Scotland, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to supply a class B drug (cannabis) after a 7-week trial, which started at Oxford Crown Court on 26 October 2015. He was sentenced 18 December 2015, to three years imprisonment.

During the complex investigation, which lasted more than 18 months, police seized around 9kg of cocaine, 1kg of MDMA powder, nearly 5,000 MDMA tablets, 4kg of amphetamine powder, 3kg of Methoxetamine and 18kg of cannabis resin. The combined street value is around £1.3million.

Those convicted and now sentenced were involved in organised crime groups which made millions of pounds supplying drugs across the South of England. Organised crime groups in Spain, Liverpool, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, London, Reading and Southend-on-sea supplied drugs, which were then stored in Didcot, Newbury, Reading and Hemel Hempstead. They were then prepared for onward distribution to people in Avon and Somerset, Swindon, Oxford, Reading and Didcot.

On 16 January 2015, following a Thames Valley Police investigation into drugs supply in the Thames Valley area, two men, who were part of the conspiracy, Arthur DeSousa and Gary DeOliveira, were arrested in a property in Newtown Road, Newbury - an address used regularly by DeOliveira. A large amount of cocaine was found at the property in their possession.  Later that day, another man involved in the conspiracy, Vasil Rica, was arrested in Reading on suspicion of supplying the cocaine to DeSousa and DeOliveira.

The ringleader, Neil Wadley, who lived in Didcot, fled the country the same day and was discovered in Spain shortly afterwards.  On 11 March 2015, after co-operation with the Spanish police, under Operation Captura, a Crimestoppers most wanted campaign, Neil Wadley, was arrested under a European Arrest Warrant and flown back to the UK to face charges.

On the same day, another phase of arrests of those involved with this investigation were simultaneously carried out.

All the arrests were linked to a number of conspiracies to supply drugs. Some people were involved in bringing the drugs to the organised crime group and others were involved in storing, adulterating and distributing them.

Post charge and due to insufficient evidence, the prosecution team offered no evidence against Samantha Berry, aged 26, of Moreden, Swindon and the case against her was discontinued. She had been charged with one count of conspiracy to supply a class A drug (cocaine).

Kirstie DeOliveira, aged 33, of Portland, Dorset was found not guilty of one count of conspiracy to supply a class A drug (cocaine) after a 7-week trial, which started at Oxford Crown Court on 26 October 2015.

Aaron Wright, aged 33, of Norreys Road, Didcot, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to supply a class A drug (cocaine), one count of conspiracy to supply a class A drug (MDMA), one count of conspiracy to supply a class B drug (cannabis) and one count of conspiracy to supply a class B drug (amphetamine). He is due to be sentenced at Oxford Crown Court on 14 January 2016.

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said: "These defendants, led by Neil Wadley, were part of a gang involved in a professional and organised operation to peddle substantial quantities of high purity drugs from the Didcot area.

"The organised crime group (OCG) were responsible for purchasing, storing, cutting, repackaging and then selling both class A and class B drugs.  They also worked in tandem with other OCGs and their national activities spanned areas including Tilehurst, Reading; Newbury; Upton, Didcot; Hemel Hempstead; Scotland; Liverpool; Southend; Bristol; Somerset, and Brent Cross. An illustration of the level of their sophisticated behaviour can be gained from the fact that one of the defendants (Gary Hunt) paid £2500 to have a 'smugglers' compartment installed in his car and the gang used encrypted phones.

"The impact on communities of high level drug dealing is immense. Drugs can ruin the lives of those who use them, affect the quality of life of people in our communities, and damage the lives of law abiding citizens who become the victims of crimes committed to fund drug habits. The defendants were motivated by money, without a care for the misery their actions were causing to the lives of others.

"We have worked closely with Thames Valley Police since this lengthy and complex investigation was launched. Thanks to a detailed police investigation followed by a robust prosecution, a substantial quantity of these drugs have been removed from the supply chain, these big time criminals have been removed from society, and the public has been made safe from their dangerous, harmful, and life destroying activities.

"This case sends out a clear message that the CPS and the police take these offences extremely seriously and anyone involved in the drugs trade can expect to be prosecuted. We will continue to work closely with our partners to ensure that persons involved in this kind of criminality are brought to justice to make our communities a safe place to live, work and visit."

Detective Inspector Rachel Wheatman, from the Thames Valley Police Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said: "Neil Wadley and the rest of his co-conspirators made substantial amounts of money supplying drugs across the South of England and beyond.

"Disrupting this extensive supply chain and sending those involved to jail for a long time has been extremely satisfying for all of us who worked on this series of investigations. I would like to thank all the police officers and staff for their efforts.

"This has been a lengthy and complex case involving a lot of hard work over a sustained period of around 18 months. This involved liaising with officers across the country and also in Spain in order to bring these offenders to justice."