South West Wales

'Evil trade' of jailed Swansea, Dorset cocaine gang

Eight members of a drugs gang who took huge amounts of cocaine into the Swansea valley have been jailed for a total of almost 80 years.

The men from south Wales, Dorset and Kent were responsible for up to 75% of the Class A drug sold in the area.

Two more gang members will be sentenced next week.

A judge at Cardiff Crown Court said their multimillion pound conspiracy had caused "incalculable damage."

During the two day sentencing hearing the court heard the gang was split into three distinctive hubs.

The south Wales group headed by David Richards was buying the drugs from Darren Quick's Kent organisation, with Craig Blake's gang in Bournemouth acting as the go-between.

Richards of Pontardawe was sentenced to 12 years in jail, Quick, previously of Rochester, Kent, to 14 years and four months and Blake, of Bournemouth, to 16 years and eight months.

The prosecution said at its height eight kilos of high purity cocaine was heading to the Swansea Valley each week.

Image caption The gang from the Swansea Valley and south coast of England was arrested following a large police surveillance operation.

Judge Stephen Hopkins QC said: "I am satisfied that millions of pounds worth of drug money passed through your hands."

The judge said of all the men in the case that their sole object was "a calcualated attempt" to make as much money "from the evil trade of drug supply" as was possible.

"You have all caused incalculable damage," he added.

'Misery of drugs'

After the sentences, Det Supt Steve Benson-Davison, head of the organised crime unit of South Wales Police, said the force would be "relentless" in pursuing drug criminals

"The quantities of drugs and cash seized were significant and the arrests disrupted a criminal gang who were trafficking drugs and laundering money across the country."

His counterpart in Dorset, Det Supt Mark Cooper said: "I believe that this result reflects the seriousness of these crimes, in which the offenders showed complete disregard for the law and dealt in the misery of drugs for financial profit."

Det Sgt Rob Haines of Kent Police's serious and organised crime unit, said they investigated an "extensive money-laundering network" in the south east of England.

"Officers conducted detailed enquiries and uncovered large sums of money being transferred through bank accounts and being moved between locations," he said.

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