Drugs gang jailed for 80 years

01/03/2013

A criminal gang were today jailed for a total of 80 years at Stafford Crown Court for their part in supplying class A and B drugs in the Telford and Shropshire area.

The majority of the gang all pleaded guilty to supplying and possessing class A and B drugs as well as perverting the course of justice, while one man, Benjamin Pengilly, was found guilty after trial of supplying Class A drugs.

They conspired together as an organised crime gang to supply diamorphine, cocaine, crack cocaine and cannabis in the Telford and Shropshire area and beyond. The total street value of the controlled drugs seized during this entire period approached £500,000.

The defendants occupied various levels and superior/subordinate roles in the gang, with some playing a controlling role, others assisting in the financing of the network and the supply of drugs to it on a wholesale basis and receiving payment in return.

Through police surveillance and cell site analysis, the gang were arrested and charged with various drugs offences. 

David Rouse, Special Casework Lawyer from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service's Complex Casework Unit said:

"These defendants were professional career criminals who set out to traffic dangerous drugs for one reason only, which was to make a great deal of money for themselves. In order to achieve this, they paid little regard for the misery and suffering which they caused by making those drugs available to those who consumed them or their families.

"Quite apart from their callous disregard for the negative impact of this on the local community, these defendants were quite prepared to use serious violence to protect their turf and to settle feuds with other like-minded criminals.

"We will now look to deprive them of the proceeds of their drug trafficking by applying for a Court Order to confiscate their ill-gotten gains.

"This prosecution sends a powerful signal that trading in illegal drugs does not pay, and criminality of this nature can and will be dealt with robustly.

"This prosecution was only made possible by the most diligent and thorough investigation by West Mercia Police and by the early strategic planning and advice which the CPS provided to them. That in turn enabled us to advise the police to charge the defendants with offences which best reflected the criminality shown by the evidence and so provided the court with appropriate sentencing powers. We were then able to direct the prosecution to best effect by continuing to advise the police at every stage and ensuring that the case was presented at court in such a manner as to bring the case to trial as quickly and effectively as possible.

"I would like to pay tribute to the investigating and prosecuting teams for the vast amount of work undertaken throughout this case because as a result, because as a result, a very significant blow was struck against organised criminality in the Telford and Shropshire area."

Speaking about Operation Active, Detective Inspector Garry Kinrade, from West Mercia Police said:

"I am very pleased with the sentences handed out at Stafford Crown Court over the past couple of days and it's particularly satisfying that a number of the individuals involved in this drug supply network will now be off the streets of Telford and Shropshire for some time.

"Operation Active was a large scale, covert operation launched with the aim of tackling organised criminals who were working together to traffic drugs into this area. This group supplied drugs across the Shropshire area for a significant period of time and sought to hide this criminality behind a second hand car business.

"They were motivated by greed and preyed on some of the most vulnerable members of our communities and were prepared to use violence to protect their market share. The group also went to great lengths to try and frustrate any police investigation.

"We are pleased the investigation has resulted in so many convictions and I'd like to thank my investigating team for their outstanding dedication and commitment in bringing these offenders to justice. I would also like to thank the Crown Prosecution Service for their outstanding contribution in bringing this complex investigation to a satisfactory conclusion.

"This really was a great example of a force led, SOCU (Serious and Organised Crime Unit) operation being excellently supported by many other departments from across West Mercia.

"As well as seeing a number of people handed a number of significant sentences, almost half a millions pounds worth of drugs was seized - along with nearly £50,000 in cash - as a result of Operation Active and therefore there is no doubt the operation has been a huge success. Investigations continue into the identification of assets accumulated by the defendants and we shall seek deprive individuals of those assets where appropriate.

"I hope that this sends out a clear message that targeting those people involved in the illicit supply of drugs will always remain a priority for West Mercia Police

"So much criminality can be linked back to drugs that it is absolutely vital we do all we can to bring those involved in supplying and dealing drugs to justice.

"Anyone with information or concerns about drugs in Telford or Shropshire is asked to call the police on 101 or 0300 333 3000. Alternatively, please remember that Crimestoppers can also be called anonymously on 0800 555 111 if you'd rather leave information without getting directly involved yourself."