Wales

Operation Zeus: Drugs gang boss Aled Gray jailed

Police seizures of cash and drugs Image copyright North Wales Police
Image caption Police seized cash and drugs in a series of dawn raids staged in 2017

The boss of a multi-million pound drug dealing "consortium" has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Aled Gray, 35, the last of a 27-strong gang to be sentenced, was jailed at Mold Crown Court for conspiracy to supply drugs.

North Wales Police targeted two organised crime groups from Holyhead and Llandudno, estimating the value of the known transactions at about £2.7m.

The gang sourced drugs from Merseyside and Manchester, the court heard.

Judge Niclas Parry said the conspirators had been "operating as a consortium".

Image copyright North Wales Police
Image caption Aled Gray is beginning a 10-year jail sentence

They supplied cocaine, heroin and cannabis across Denbighshire, Conwy and Anglesey.

Gray, of Holyhead, who owned two pubs in the town - the Boston Arms and the Dublin Packet - admitted conspiring to supply class A drugs.

The court was told he used the pubs as a headquarters for the crime group.

Judge Parry said Gray was shrewd and kept himself at arm's length from the "dirty end of the business".

Jim Sturman QC, defending, said his client accepted playing a leading role but he was not the pre-eminent figure.

He was the black sheep of his family whose parents had died young and left money and a business to him and his family, he said.

"Unfortunately, he sniffed it up his nose, rather than do something useful with it," he said.

'Misery and corruption'

After sentencing, Gemma Vincent, of the Crown Prosecution Service, described the gangs as a "well-established and sophisticated criminal enterprise".

She added: "The investigation revealed that two entirely separate crime groups came together to form a profitable consortium.

"The amount of drugs distributed by the two organised crime groups in north Wales was staggering. Aled Gray was instrumental in these criminal activities."

North Wales Police said some parts of the gangs had been operating since October 2015.

The force's Operation Zeus began in January 2017 and made the arrests in 28 simultaneous early-morning raids the following November.

A total of 27 defendants have been sentenced as a result.

Det Insp Lee Boycott said: "I have worked in serious and organised crime for over 13 years and never seen such high drugs productivity.

"Drugs supply causes misery and a corruption in our communities. It will, therefore, always remain a priority for the police."

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