Torquay cocaine gang leader's 18-year jail term

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The ringleader of a drug trafficking gang in Devon has been jailed for 18 years at Exeter Crown Court.

Matthew Deny, 46, of Exeter, arranged for nearly £2m of cocaine to be brought down from the Midlands to Devon.

The class A drugs were then processed in Torquay, before being distributed across the county.

Steven Dudley, 51, Gerard Kirwan, 37, and Christopher Burke, all of Torquay, and Jon Moreton, 38, of Coventry were jailed for between seven and 12 years.

Judge Graham Cottle said the seriousness of the crime meant there was no alternative to substantial prison sentences.

He said Deny had made a very considerable profit from the operation he masterminded.

The court was told Deny organised a "sophisticated" trafficking operation, where gang members changed their mobile phones every two weeks and hired a series of cars in a bid to avoid detection.

Undercover operation

However the gang's drug operation was smashed after one of the biggest undercover surveillance operations ever mounted in the South West.

Dudley was jailed for 11 years for acting as a courier to bring the drugs from Coventry to Torquay.

Burke, who was in charge of the drugs factory in Torquay, was sentenced to 10 years.

The "source of the cocaine" was Moreton, who was jailed for 12 years.

Kirwan who collected the processed cocaine for distribution on the streets was given a seven-year term.

As the men were taken from court, they shouted abuse at the judge and police officers.

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