South West Wales

Pembrokeshire heroin conspiracy gang jailed

Pembrokeshire drugs gang
Image caption The 11 members of the gang led by Andrew Lowndes (far left) were jailed for a total of 33-and-a-half-years

Eleven drug gang members have been jailed for a total of over 30 years for supplying heroin in Pembrokeshire.

The 11, who were all addicted to heroin when arrested, played a part in a large conspiracy based in Haverfordwest, Swansea Crown Court heard.

The head of the gang, Andrew Lowndes, aged 39, from Haverfordwest, was sentenced to five-and-a-half years.

Dyfed-Powys Police said shutting down the operation had significantly reduced the supply of heroin in the county.

During sentencing, Judge Paul Thomas said over a five-month period Lowndes had controlled and organised the network.

The judge said he was as a "major player" in the Pembrokeshire drug scene and a "prolific supplier".

Up to 20 people a day would call at his house in Fleming Crescent to buy the drug.

He was an experienced dealer and had "a certain status" as a "trusted source of good quality heroin".

'Encouraged addiction'

Judge Thomas said they had "encouraged drug addiction" in others.

Two other people, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were also jailed for a total of 15 years on Thursday.

The 13 arrests came as a result of a police operation called "Picasso".

Since it was launched, 41 people have been arrested for various drug offences receiving a total of 73 years in prison, with drugs and other assets worth a total of £23,000 also being seized by police.

Speaking outside court, Det Sgt Gareth Roberts of Dyfed-Powys Police said the force was pleased with the sentences.

"This operation was successful in dismantling an organised crime group actively engaged in the trafficking of Class A drugs at Haverfordwest and the surrounding areas," he said.

"It has had a significant impact in the availability of heroin and drugs in that county.

"We are committed in protecting our communities from harmful drugs and this proves the trafficking of controlled drugs, particularly heroin, will not be tolerated."

Iwan Jenkins, chief crown prosecutor for Dyfed-Powys Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said it was the second major batch of drug-related sentences handed out to dealers who had targeted Pembrokeshire in less than a week.

"Today's result is a product of another excellent investigation by Dyfed-Powys Police, followed by a professional and thorough prosecution led by the CPS," he said.

"As a result of this partnership working, in the last week we have seen custodial sentences for more than 20 people who have been involved in supplying drugs to the streets of Pembrokeshire."

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