South West Wales

£260,000 heroin gang jailed for supplying in Swansea

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Media captionThe 10 received sentences at Swansea Crown Court of between 28 months and six years in prison

A drugs gang has been jailed for supplying more than £260,000 worth of heroin in Swansea.

The 10 members received sentences at Swansea Crown Court of between 28 months and six years in prison.

Ringleaders in Liverpool used them as runners over five months.

Judge Keith Thomas said: "Class A drugs place a great strain on all our potential services. The main sources of heroin in Swansea are from Bristol and Liverpool."

Joe Kerwin, Shaun Kerwin, Jamie Byrne, Lee Ackers, Nicholas Cunningham, Kevin McAndrews, Christopher Jordan, Rachel Wilkinson, Daniel Brookes and Kyle Ashton were all sentenced on Friday.

Joe Kerwin and Byrne received six years while McAndrews received 64 months. Shaun Kerwin and Ackers were both sentenced to 56 months.

Cunningham, Jordan and Ashton were all jailed for 44 months. Wilkinson and Brookes were each handed 28 month terms.

Image caption Police surveillance image of Lee Ackers involved in a drug deal

Operation Bastion, the investigation into the supply of heroin into south Wales, ran from February to August 2012.

The operation targeted suppliers and the main supply network.

It found Liverpool-based criminals were trafficking significant quantities of heroin into Swansea and last July more than 100 officers raided addresses in Swansea, the West Midlands and Merseyside.

As a result, the defendants were arrested and charged.

'Bring to justice'

Det Insp Jason Davies, who led the operation, said: "The arrest and conviction of this crime group displays that South Wales Police will go to any length to bring to justice those who traffic heroin into our communities.

"When these dealers awoke on the morning of 6th July 2012 they did not expect there to be officers from Swansea in their bedrooms, they thought they were untouchable by controlling the business from Merseyside.

"I trust that today's sentencing displays to our communities that we will seek out the traffickers and that regardless of what barriers they put up to prevent apprehension we will break them down and nowhere is safe."

Iwan Jenkins, from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said: "These defendants were part of a major criminal conspiracy that sought to profit from bringing misery to local communities via the supply of illegal drugs.

"Around 40 people have now received custodial sentences as part of this major South Wales Police operation.

"This has been an extremely complex set of cases involving multiple defendants based in different parts of the country and with differing levels of involvement in the offences involved."