A successful North Wales Police operation has thwarted a criminal gang who plotted to bring more than £2 million of drugs into Wales.
At Caernarfon Crown Court on 20 December, two men from Halewood and a man from Wavertree were amongst 14 individuals who were jailed for a total of 72 years and eight months for conspiring to supply cocaine and cannabis.
Intelligence reports highlighted that some of these drug consignments were collected and exchanged at locations in Gwynedd, North Wales.
The movements and communications of those suspected to be involved were monitored closely by the North Wales Police Serious and Organised Crime Unit as part of Operation Blue Glacier.
This investigation also featured Operation Venetic telecoms data shared with North Wales Police by the National Crime Agency.
The telecoms data was covertly obtained from servers relating to encrypted mobile phones (EncroChat). Data pertinent to Operation Blue Glacier was then provided to North Wales Police for progression.
Analysis of encrypted messages used by the gang’s members, ultimately led to significant arrests and drug seizures.
Cumulatively, 10kg of cocaine and wholesale quantities of cannabis were seized as a result of these policing actions between May and November 2020.
A large quantity of cash totalling £467,235 was also recovered from the suspects, along with Crypto Currency with the equivalent value of over £26,000.
During court proceedings, Judge Nicola Saffman commended the work of North Wales Police Officers for their investigative work within the case.
Reflecting on the sentences imposed, Detective Inspector Dean Jones said, “The sentences today send a clear message that we will not tolerate drug dealing in our communities.
“We are committed to working, along with other agencies, to stay one step ahead of these criminals and we will relentlessly pursue anyone who breaks the law and exploits vulnerable people for their own gain.
“This result is not only testament to the hard work and dedication of the officers involved, but also to the support we receive from the public who assist greatly in tackling this crime that has such a detrimental effect on people’s lives.
“This successful operation is just part of the ongoing investigations being undertaken and should serve as a warning of the consequences to anyone who is involved in such crime.
“We will continue to strive to make North Wales the safest place to live in the UK.”
For conspiring to supply cocaine and conspiring to supply cannabis, the judge gave the following sentences. The second sentences will run concurrently to the first:
- Kenneth William Hillier, 38, of Wavertree, Liverpool.: 12 years, nine months imprisonment, and six years three months respectively.
- Luke Evans, 28, of Waunfawr, Gwynedd: 11 years, three months, and six and a half years respectively – plus two years for conspiring to supply MDMA.
- Lee James Dever, 47, of Halewood, Merseyside: Nine years, and five years nine months.
- Michael Robert Currey, 47, of Halewood, Merseyside: Six years nine months
- Nathan Roberts, 26, of Bangor, Gwynedd: Two years suspended for two years.
- Luke David Smith, 30, of Bethesda, Gwynedd: Two years suspended for two years.
- Jamie Roberts, 28, of Penygroes, Gwynedd: Two years suspended for two years.
- Ian Cogley, 38: Six years eight months, and 16 months.
- Joshua Michael Royds, 26, of Beaumaris: Six years eight months, four years.
- Molly Jane Bailey, 24, of Colwyn Bay: Five years six months, four years one month.
- James Ryan Morgan, 21, of Caernarfon: Six years conspiracy to supply cocaine only.
- Rebecca Louise Williams, 25, of Colwyn Bay: Six years, four years one month.
- Ian James Hughes, 49, and Clare Michelle Hughes, 46, both of Bangor, both admitted to conspiring to supply only cannabis and each received 20-month sentences suspended for two years.