£500,000 Cardiff heroin gang jailed for 40 years

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Media captionThe men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin

Seven members of a gang who were caught with £500,000 worth of heroin to be sold on the streets of Cardiff and Swansea have been jailed.

The group had been running a major operation to bring in the drug from Liverpool, Cardiff Crown Court heard.

David Cook, Damien Farrugia, David Hale, Joel Harris, Anthony Watson, Elisha Mutsunge and Joseph Thomas were jailed for 40 years.

They all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin.

Sentencing, Judge Tom Crowther QC told the men they had been "blinded by greed, unable to see the effects of heroin on society at large and on other people's children".

The police probe was initially small-scale until officers realised the scale of the dealing of the Class A drug, the court was told.

The conspiracy was uncovered when police arrested Thomas - who was the man at the centre of it - outside his parents' home in Butetown, Cardiff.

A bag he was carrying contained £73,620 split up into smaller labelled bags.

A search of his home found almost 5kg (11lb) of heroin worth £500,000, which was split into 500g bricks.

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Media captionThe drugs gang could have been dealing up to £1.4m worth of heroin says Det Insp Tracey Rankine

The men's jail sentences:

  • Joseph Thomas, 31, from Butetown, Cardiff - nine years
  • David Cook, 30, from Grangetown, Cardiff - eight years
  • Joel Harris, 27, from Ely, Cardiff - six years
  • Anthony Watson, 25, from Pentwyn, Cardiff - six years
  • Damien Farrugia, 34, from Fairwater, Cardiff - five years
  • Elisha Mutsange, 23, from Roath, Cardiff - three years
  • David Hale, 23, from Ely, Cardiff - 40 months

Two further defendants will be sentenced at a later date.

All seven defendants will have to serve at least half of their prison sentences before being released on conditional licence.

Prosecutor Mike Hammett described the drugs as "wholesale quantities" and said most was stored in a bin in Thomas's garden.

Two blackberry mobile phones also found at his address contained 1,000 messages relating to the supply of heroin.

The court also heard that Watson, from Pentwyn, Cardiff, provided expertise and tested the drug for quality.

After the men were sentenced, Det Ch Supt Darren Davies said South Wales Police was pleased the court had recognised the "severity of the actions of this criminal group".

"Fortunately during the police investigation into this conspiracy officers intercepted around 5kg of heroin which would otherwise have made it onto the streets of south Wales," he added.

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