SEVENTEEN people were sentenced to a total of 61 years in jail on Friday (Apri 10) for their involvement in a cocaine supply ring.
The arrests were the result of Operation Redcliff, which targeted the supply of cocaine into south-west Wales.
Nine of the people sentenced were from the Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire area.
Jail sentences totalling 61 years have been handed down today after a “professional and meticulous” police operation trapped a gang running drugs into Pembrokeshire.
The so called “Liverpool Connection” arranged for large amounts of cocaine to be delivered to Milford Haven, Carmarthen and Pembroke Dock.
One drugs “meet” took place at Carmarthen golf club without the club being aware,Swansea crown court was told.
Robin Rouch, prosecuting, said police used cameras fitted with automatic number plate recognition to track the gang’s movements and bugged conversations as part of Operation Redcliff.
The drugs running was “interrupted” in September, 2012, after John Underwood was arrested at Cwmgwili when police stopped his van and found £4,200 worth of cocaine. He was jailed for 18 months but resumed his criminal activities after his release.
The court heard many of the gang had few or no previous convictions and a leading figure in the West Wales end of the operation, David “Jamie” Evans, was a family man who once won a Welsh cap for water polo.
In March 2014, £50,000 worth of cocaine was seized in a car in West Wales and officers from Operation Redcliff began making a series of arrests.
Mr Rouch said, “Those in the conspiracy used mobile phones which were often unregistered and pre-paid.. Amounts of money were paid into bank accounts in West Wales that was then transferred to people living in Merseyside.”
He said it was impossible to be exact about the amount of cocaine supplied between 2012 and 2014 but it was estimated to be worth at least £200,000.
A total of 17 defendants were sentenced over a two day hearing that ended today.
Judge Paul Thomas told them, “People like you who decide to get involved in dealing with large quantities of cocaine do so in the knowledge that if caught they will get long sentences in jail.
“You all took a calculated risk and now that you have lost that particular gamble you will pay the price.”
The Judge praised the Dyfed Powys police officers involved as being “professional and meticulous.”
Judge Thomas described Jamie Evans, aged 42, of Crud y Wawr, St Clears, as the “lynchpin” of the West Wales part of the drugs operation. He was jailed for eight years.
John Underwood, 30, of Coronation Drive, Prescott, Merseyside, was given eight years.
Peter Cummins, 29, from Byron Avenue, Whiston, Merseyside, was given six and a half years for his “significant role”.
Labourer Jenkin Davies, 55, of Bwlch Newydd, Cynwyl Elfed, was given five and a half years for his role as Jamie Evans’s “right hand man” in West Wales.
Richard Houghton, 32, of Ridings Close, St Helens, described as a courier, was jailed for four and a half years.
David Campbell, 58, of Patterson Street, Birkenhead was jailed for three years. He was caught with cocaine worth £50,000.
Greg Mackenzie, 28, of Blaenwaun, Whitland, was jailed for four years and John Fitzgerald, 44, of Prior Ledge Drive, Milford Haven got four and a half years.
Craig Cann, 34, of Trebannog Road, Porth, and Ross Hutchings, 25, of Gordon Street, Ton Pentre, described by Judge Thomas as being “at the Rhondda Valley end of the operation” were each jailed for three years while Thomas Charles Salmon, 33, from Llanmill, Narberth, was jailed for two years and eight months and Emanuel Handford, 23, of Glannant Road, Carmarthen got two years and four months.
They had all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine.
Daniel Gila, 26, of City Road, Haverfordwest, was found guilty of the charge after a trial and he was jailed for five years.
Rebecca Underwood, 28, of Whiston, Merseyside was jailed for 16 weeks, suspended for 12 months for laundering the gang’s money. Judge Thomas said he appreciated she would be left to bring up a young family alone once he had jailed her husband John Underwood.
Mark Tinsley, 32, of Dennett Road, Prescott was ordered to carry out 240 hours of unpaid work for the community for money laundering.
Both, said Judge Thomas, had provided the gang with a valuable service by allowing “large amounts of money” to pass through their bank accounts.
Adam Evans, 27, of Queen Road, Llanelli, got a nine month sentence suspended for a year for the lesser charge of being concerned in the supply of cocaine and Louise Thornton, 27, of Whitemill, Lampeter Velfrey was given 16 months suspended for a year with both being given unpaid work orders.
Detective Inspector Huw Davies of the Serious and Organised Crime team welcomed the sentences.
“They send a clear signal out to the criminal fraternity that drug offences will not be tolerated in the Dyfed-Powys area and officers will do their utmost to bring cases to court,” he said.
“Today’s outcome is the result of a complex and protracted operation conducted by Dyfed-Powys Police into the trafficking of substantial quantities of Class A drugs, namely Cocaine, into the force area, in this case 1 kilo of the drug was recovered.”
“I would encourage anyone who has concerns over the trafficking of drugs to contact local police.”
The full list of those convicted is as follows:
David James Lloyd Evans b. 01/03/1973 Carmarthen – Conspiracy to supply cocaine – 7 years
Jenkin Anthony Davies b.27/03/1959 Carmarthen – Conspiracy to supply cocaine – 5 ½ years
Greg Ian Mackenzie b.23/02/1986 Narberth – Conspiracy to supply cocaine – 4 years
Thomas Charles Salmon b.18/03/1981 Narberth – Conspiracy to supply cocaine – 32 months
Louise Thornton b.25/04/1986 Narberth – Being concerned in the supply of cocaine – 16 months suspended for 2 years
Richard Houghton b.04/04/1983 St Helens – Conspiracy to supply cocaine – 4 ½ years
David Campbell b. 27/04/1956 Merseyside – Conspiracy to supply cocaine – 3 years
John William Fitzgerald b.23/12/1969 Milford Haven – Conspiracy to supply cocaine – 4 ½ years
John Paul Underwood b.06/07/1983 Merseyside – Conspiracy to supply cocaine – 8 years
Peter Cummins b.14/11/1984 Merseyside – Conspiracy to supply cocaine – 6 ½ years
Daniel Alexander Gila b.134/02/1988Haverfordwest – Conspiracy to supply cocaine – 5 years
Emanuel Lee Hanford b.13/11/1990 – Carmarthen – Conspiracy to supply cocaine – 28 months
Craig Cann b.08/11/1980 Porth – Conspiracy to supply cocaine – 3 years
Ross Hutchings b.30/07/1989 Ton Pentre – Conspiracy to supply cocaine – 3 years
Adam John Evans b.19/08/1988 Treorchy – Being concerned in the supply of cocaine – 9 months suspended for 2 years
Mark Tinsley b.21/03/1982 Merseyside – Money laundering – converting criminal property – 240 hours community service
Rebecca Jade Underwood b.20/07/1986 – Merseyside – Money laundering – converting criminal property – 4 months suspended for 1 year
Ceredigion County Council’s Apprenticeship recruitment campaign is now live
THE council’s 2019 Apprenticeship programme is now open for applications until Sunday 22 September.
A council apprenticeship gives learners the opportunity to build skills and confidence while earning a salary and gaining a nationally recognised qualification. With roles available in Business Administration, ICT Technical Support and Social Care teams, there is an opportunity for everyone.
The first year of the programme is nearing an end and has been a great success. Alanah Lloyd recently completed a Business Administration Apprenticeship. She said: “I would recommend doing an apprenticeship at Ceredigion County Council to all my friends. I enjoyed the balance of real responsibilities and having the space to keep on learning.”
Maria Lloyd, Alanah’s mother said: “When Alanah was successful with her application I was delighted. It gave her the opportunity to show her work ethic and continue with her education in an organisation where there is career progression. Alanah has now gained a permanent position at the council. I would highly recommend apprenticeships to other parents.”
Lynne Connolly, Apprenticeship and Work Experience Coordinator, Ceredigion County Council said: “This year we are continuing to demonstrate our commitment to ‘grow our own’, offering opportunities for school and college leavers to continue education in a working environment and for members of the community looking to return to work or change career. All our apprentices are paid well above the minimum apprentice wage which reflects how much we value their contribution.”
To apply and find out more visit career.ceredigion.gov.uk or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Overall ‘excellent’ performance at Mynach Primary School
A RECENT Estyn report on the primary school in Mynach has given the ‘Excellent’ status to each of the five inspection areas.
It was noted in the report that the school had attained ‘Excellent’ status in standards; wellbeing and attitudes to learning; teaching and learning experiences; care, support and guidance; and leadership and management.
The report notes, ‘A particular feature is the opportunities for Key Stage 2 pupils to plan and deliver lessons for the rest of the class, focusing on specific skills.’
Joyce George is headteacher at Ysgol y Mynach. She is also headteacher at Pontrhydfendigaid Primary School and Sir John Rhys Primary School. She said, “As a headteacher, I am extremely proud of the results of the survey and very grateful to the staff, governors and those who work effectively together as a team to ensure a first class education for all pupils. I am proud of the fact that the inspectors identified pupils’ literacy, numeracy and information and communication technology skills as excellent.
It was also noted that a pioneering feature of Ysgol Mynach is the way in which teachers adapt and develop the curriculum in order to raise pupils’ independence. Working together as a wider partnership with Ysgol Pontrhydfendigaid and Ysgol Sir John Rhys, Ponterwyd is a great advantage and an opportunity to share expertise, co-design and share ideas which extend and widen the experiences of pupils across the schools.”
Councillor Catrin Miles is the Cabinet member for Learning services. She said: “The Estyn report shows that Ysgol Gynradd Mynach has achieved exceptionally high standards. The hard work and dedication of the headteacher, staff, governors and of course the children is very evident. The school shows that a way of working together with neighbouring schools in a progressive way can produce excellent results. Everyone in the school deserves congratulations.”
The report notes that the school is an extremely close community. It also notes that the head teacher has a progressive vision that is continually focused on maintaining and raising standards of pupils’ achievement and wellbeing.
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn visits Machynlleth
ON Thursday 15 August Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn addressed around 200 local Labour Party members from Mid, West and North Wales at Machynlleth Bowling Club. Tickets for the event had all been taken within 24 hours, and an additional video link was live streamed into the club bar to allow those who could not get into the packed venue the opportunity to hear him speak.
Mr Corbyn was joined by Christina Rees, Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, and West Wales Regional AMs Joyce Watson and Eluned Morgan, Welsh Labour Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language.
Eluned Morgan AM’s passionate introductory remarks highlighted Welsh Labour’s ongoing commitment to improving outcomes in education, health, housing, jobs and the environment. She urged immediate action from international UK and international governments on the climate crisis, declaring ‘The emergency is now!’
Mr Corbyn made clear that he is expecting a general election to be likely very soon and proceeded to outlined the scale of the current crisis the UK is facing, with 14 million now in poverty in the world’s 5th richest economy, and child poverty predicted by some to rise as high as 40%.
He went on to congratulate Welsh Labour on the great work that has been possible in Wales to insulate the Welsh people from the worst of the effects of Tory austerity, protecting vital NHS services and preventing the worst of school cuts, but he explained that there was only so much that could be done without the full support of a Labour government in Westminster.
“Things will be very different under a Labour government” Mr Corbyn added, saying that Labour will invest in people, with principles of equality and social justice and to demonstrate his state of readiness, with great vigour declared: “I’m up for an election anytime”.
He expressed grave concern over the effects that a reckless No Deal Brexit would have on the UK economy with particular reference to the devastating effects on Welsh industry and agriculture. He promised that Labour will do everything they can to prevent a no-deal, including the offer of a second referendum with Remain as an option, and the formation of a national unity government to prevent further political chaos.
Outlining his commitment to green industrial development Jeremy Corbyn stated that a Labour government would support the creation of the Swansea Tidal Lagoon which would bring valuable new green transitional jobs to Wales which would lead the world on renewables technology.
Mr Corby thanked everyone present for their efforts in Wales and reaffirmed his commitment to core Labour values of equality and social justice. He received a standing ovation and stayed after the event to chat and have photos taken with supporters.
A Ceredigion Labour spokesperson commented: “Jeremy Corbyn spoke passionately and inspiringly. He was full of praise for our outstanding efforts in the 2017 election and said he would be visiting Ceredigion during the next General Election campaign.”
The following day Mr Corbyn visited the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth to see new renewable energy technology in action and learn about pioneering methods of sustainable building and farming. He also confirmed that he would not stand in the way of any future discussion of a Welsh Independence referendum, and that he was open to considering all options for Wales’future.
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