Final member of drug-dealing gang jailed

Gary Williams
Gary Williams

THE final member of a 13-strong drug dealing network has been jailed – bringing the total jail sentences to more than 100 years.

The gang of 13 drug dealers have been jailed for a total of 105 years and five months after the final member Gary Williams was sentenced to six years and nine months at Teesside Crown Court.

He was one of a number of dealers who bought one kilo deals of uncut cocaine at £50,000 from the gang who used a luxury penthouse flat at Hartlepool Marina as a front.

After keeping watch on the flat at Jarsling House, police smashed the dealing operation on December 3, 2009, when five kilos of cocaine worth an estimated £1m, and thousands in cash was seized.

The blocks of cocaine were uncut, and found to be 60 per cent pure, similar to what is seized by customs officials.

The sentencing of Williams, 36, of Ashwood Meadows, Horden, marks the end of a two-year investigation by police, codenamed Operation Mustard, and the Crown Prosecution Service.

The operation was painstakingly pieced together by DNA and fingerprint evidence and analysis of their mobile phone calls that linked them to each other and revealed the scale of the dealing network.

More than £300,000 was seized from the gang and evidence of extravagant lifestyles were uncovered.

Detective Sergeant Sarah Robinson, of the Cleveland Police organised crime unit, said: “This has been a major investigation from start to finish and we are extremely pleased with the result.

“Drugs networks such as this bring death and destruction to the lives of the end user and can blight communities across not only the North-East, but the rest of the country.

“These sentences should act as a warning to anyone involved in the supply or distribution of drugs that we will find you and we will do everything possible to ensure that you are put behind bars.”

In April, kingpin John Rayner, 36, of The Paddock, Elwick, was jailed for thirteen-and-a-half years and his wife, Tanya, 29, a bookkeeper for the gang, got 10 years.

Steven Campbell, 33, of Clifton Avenue, Hartlepool, was jailed for nine years and his right-hand man, Dean McBean, 32, of Marlowe Road, was sentenced to eight and- a-half years.

Mark Gelson, 33, of Marlowe Road, who fronted the retail side of the venture was jailed for six years and four months.

Gopher, Anthony Smith, 34, of Meadowgate Drive, got nine years, while regular customer Jonathan Chapman, 27, of Caistor Drive, received seven and a half years.

Another large scale customer Paul Johnson, 29, of Maxwell Road, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years.

Newcastle dealers Nicky Dishman, 27, and Aaron Christofis, 29, got eight and a half years and seven years and nine months respectively.

Tyneside street dealer, Sharon McEvoy, 41, received three years and seven months at an earlier hearing after being convicted of conspiracy to supply cocaine.

Leslie Graham, 47, of Greenacres Farm, Haswell, was jailed for seven and a half years after he put up £10,000 towards a cocaine deal. He was convicted of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

All of the other defendants had admitted conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.