NINE men have been sentenced for their part in a major conspiracy to purchase, manufacture and deal cannabis, cocaine and pills across England and Wales.
The men, including four from Malvern, were sentenced at Worcester Crown Court following a six-month investigation by West Mercia Police that pulled together work being done by other forces into a number of incidents that occurred across the country as well as in Worcestershire.
Central to the schemes was 32-year-old James Impey, of Dorstone, in Herefordshire, who police discovered was acting as a facilitator for drug deals, putting dealers, suppliers and traffickers in touch with each other across England and Wales.
Impey was sentenced to seven years in prison for conspiring to supply Class B and Class C drugs.
Also sentenced were: - Ameeth Singh Mudhar, aged 30 and of Fraser Close, Malvern, who was sentenced to five years in prison for conspiring to supply a Class B drug as well as money laundering and driving offences.
- Richard Lewis, aged 22 and of Moat Crescent, Malvern, was sentenced to four years in prison for conspiring to supply a Class C drug and money laundering.
- Robert Cornes, aged 27 and of Belmont Road, Malvern, was sentenced to two years in prison for conspiring to supply a Class A drug.
- Martin Sculley, aged 39 and of Cowleigh Road, Malvern, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for conspiring to supply a Class A drug.
- John Gluyas, aged 41 and of Ravenhill Road, Ravenhill, Swansea, was sentenced to four years in prison for conspiring to supply Class B and Class C drugs.
Three other men were also given non-custodial sentences.
Tarlochan Mahal, 27, of Clay Lane, Oldbury, was given a nine months suspended sentence and 180 hours community service for conspiring to supply a Class C drug.
Gareth Owen, 44, of Rhodfa’r Brain, Ravenhill Road, Ravenhill, Swansea, was given a nine months suspended sentence and 180 hours community service for conspiring to supply a Class B drug.
Colin Beck, 58, of Empire Road, Coventry, was given a nine months suspended sentence and 180 hours community service for conspiring to supply a Class B drug.
Investigations by West Mercia Police’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit revealed the conspiracy started while many of those convicted where in prison together in 2010 and 2011.
They found that in February 2011, Impey conspired with Mudhar, Gluyas and Owen to buy 50kg of cannabis resin that had been smuggled into Essex from Spain, and sell it on to dealers in Swansea.
Other incidents uncovered included: - In January 2011, 3kg of cannabis was seized by Avon and Somerset Police from a van on the M5 between Bristol and Gloucester.
- In April 2011, a seizure was made by Staffordshire Police at a service station on the M6 when 8.4kg of BZP, a chemical stimulant drug sold as pills in the same markets as ecstasy, was recovered from a vehicle as it was being transported from Merseyside to Birmingham.
- After this deal fell through, 1.25kg of BZP was collected in Merseyside by Colin Beck, who delivered it to Impey, Ameeth Mudhar and Richard Lewis who passed it on to Tarlochan Mahal’s address in Halesowen.
Meanwhile, Lewis and Mudhar were involved in their own projects in Worcestershire. Lewis, Cornes and Scully were found to be running a drug dealing and production operation out of Malvern.
Officers executed a warrant at Cornes’ address in Belmont Road, Malvern, and found a hydraulic press for making pills, 18 grams of cocaine, scales, bags and cash.
A further seizure of 425g of cocaine was made at Scully’s home in Cowleigh Road, Malvern, along with substances used for cutting into the cocaine.
Mudhar was convicted for his part in a cannabis cultivation operation that was raided by officers in August 2011 at a farm building in Hillside near Martley, where they found 496 plants.
He was also convicted for offences after he and Lewis were involved in a pursuit with police officers in September 2011.
He was driving a Vauxhall Corsa along the A38 when they refused to stop for a police patrol vehicle in Severn Stoke.
A pursuit occurred along unclassified roads to Kinnersley where the car stopped and Lewis ran off carrying a holdall.
When officers caught up with him he tried to dispose of the bag, which had £14,000 inside. This was seized by police.
As well as being sentenced for their parts in drug dealing conspiracies, both men were also sentenced for money laundering and Mudhar for dangerous driving.
Another large seizure of cash happened in June 2011, when Mahal was stopped in an Audi Q7 in Worcester and a search of the 4x4 uncovered nearly £13,000 in cash.
Mahal refused ownership and claimed he did not know where it came from, so this money was also seized.
The nine defendants were arrested at different stages throughout 2011 and were charged in September 2011 and February 2012. They all pleaded guilty at a succession of hearings last year.
Detective Inspector Carl Moore, from West Mercia Police’s Serious Organised Crime Unit, led the investigation.
He said: “It took a major amount of police work to piece together all the connections in these many criminal conspiracies.
“This case gives an idea of the complex web of networks that exists in the illegal drugs trade with individuals and organised crime groups working alone and together on a number of operations at anyone time.”
He added: “We are determined to tackle organised criminals who deal in drugs, even if their activity is national or international, because their illegal trade damages and causes harm in our local communities.”