Gloucestershire-based drugs gang jailed for cocaine supply ring

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Media captionDramatic footage shot from a police helicopter in 2011 shows the moment one of a Gloucestershire-based drugs gang's couriers was arrested.

Five members of a Gloucestershire-based drugs gang are behind bars for their part in a cocaine supply ring.

Gloucester Crown Court heard the operation, which included transporting cocaine from Leicester, was masterminded by Mark Dainty, 45.

Dainty, of Southgate Street, Gloucester pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to supply cocaine and money laundering.

He was sentenced to nine-and-a-half years in jail. Three others received sentences of almost 15 years.

The court was told the investigation started early in 2011 when one of the group's couriers was arrested.

Gary Paul George Hooper of Evenlode Road, Tuffley, was later charged with possession with intent to supply a class A drug and jailed for four years in May 2011.

A 30-year-old woman from Tuffley, also arrested at the time, was charged with money laundering offences and was issued with a formal caution.

Image caption Erik Thomas (l) and Mark Dainty were both jailed at Gloucester Crown Court

On Friday the court was told in total the gang had transported some 500g of cocaine - with a potential street value in excess of £100,000 - between Leicester and Gloucester.

In April 2011 a van was stopped by armed officers leaving the M5 at junction 12.

Dramatic footage shot from a police helicopter show another of the group's couriers, Erik Thomas, 32, of Hayleaze, Yate, South Gloucestershire, throwing a package of cocaine from the van's window after trying to flee from officers. He was arrested on suspicion of supply of a Class A drug.

Also in the van was Donna Gittings, 27, of Stanley Road, Worcester. She was arrested on on suspicion of possession of a Class A drug.

'Expensive cars'

After Thomas' arrest the investigation continued and in September of that year officers from Gloucestershire Police, Avon and Somerset Police and Leicestershire Police, carried out further arrests.

Police are now pursuing Dainty under the Proceeds of Crime Act to sell off his assets including a yacht and expensive cars.

Image caption Police are to use the Proceeds of Crime Act to seize some of Dainty's assets

Speaking outside court Det Supt Alex Drummond, from Gloucestershire Constabulary, said Dainty was living the lifestyle of somebody well beyond his means with no real visible signs of income.

"He was driving around in a high-powered BMW with a personalised number plate, he had a Range Rover, a power boat, he went on numerous foreign holidays on the proceeds of drug dealing with an arrogance that I don't think he thought he would get caught.

"We're never going to eradicate the drugs problem - by doing this high level activity it makes it harder and harder for these sort of criminals to operate in Gloucestershire which is our primary aim," he said.

  • Thomas pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiracy to supply cocaine and was sentenced to four years and nine months - he was also also given nine months in prison for dangerous driving and banned from driving for two-and-a-half years
  • Raphael Wainwright Franks, 27, of Ryder Road, Leicester, entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to supply cocaine - he was sentenced to four years imprisonment
  • Jason Edie, 28, of Ryder Road in Leicester, entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to supply cocaine - he was given five years and four months in prison
  • Gittings pleaded guilty to possession of a class A drug - she was sentenced to serve a nine month community order

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