Loughborough gang who sold drugs and a shotgun to police jailed

Ten men sentenced for drug dealing Image copyright Leicestershire Police
Image caption Clockwise from top left: Tapiwa Chokufa, Mason Cooper, Tomas Esteves, Sebastian Garner, Iakam Hasan, Musawenkosi Nayathi, Reece Page, Malachi Quintyne-Bayliss, Qmar Riley, Lee Ryan Smith

Ten gang members have been jailed after they were caught in a police operation which saw them sell class A drugs and a stolen shotgun to undercover officers.

The men were part of a huge gang network in Loughborough which sold heroin and cocaine.

Police swooped on 80 homes in the town, and charged 103 people. A total of 70 people have already been sentenced.

The latest group received sentences of two to four years after they admitted buying and selling the drugs.

The court was told undercover police officers posing as customers were sold drugs by the men which had a value of more than £15,000.

One of the defendants, Sebastian Garner, also sold a stolen shotgun to an officer for £800.

James Thomas, prosecuting, said: "The supplies made to undercover officers must amount to a snapshot of the overall business of the defendants."

Queues for drugs

Detectives from Leicestershire Police's Operation Lionheart said the men were from two of Leicester's organised crime groups.

They used more than 20 drug runners across Loughborough to carry out deals in the university town.

Police said Tapawa Chokufa, whose nickname was "Ash", was caught arranging at least 37 different drug deals using a phone number called "The Ash Line".

Leicester Crown Court heard texts were sent to promote drug deliveries. This resulted in queues of customers outside properties which had been taken over by dealers, which are known as trap houses.

Image caption This flat in Moira Street was boarded up after being used by the dealers to sell drugs

Det Ch Insp Dharmendra Bhakta said police were alerted after a rise in violent attacks in Loughborough.

He said: "These 10 individuals were masterminding a drugs network in Leicestershire, using a number of properties and people in an effort to sell large amounts of cocaine and heroin and enhance their criminal gain."

The men sentenced were:

  • Tapiwa Chokufa, 25, of no fixed address - four years and four months
  • Lee Ryan Smith, 24, of Ranger Close, Leicester - three years and eight months
  • Musawenkosi Nayathi, 24, of Cherrybrook Close, Leicester - three years and nine months
  • Reece Page, 21, of Dupont Gardens, Leicester - three years and six months detention
  • Qmar Riley, 21, of Faversham Close, Leicester - three years and two months
  • Tomas Esteves, 19, of Beaumont Leys Lane, Leicester - three years and seven months detention
  • Mason Cooper, 19, of Cross Hedge Close, Leicester - two years detention
  • Sebastian Garner, 19, of no fixed address - four years and four months detention
  • Iakam Hasan, 18, of Billington Close, Leicester - three years and eight months detention
  • Malachi Quintyne-Bayliss, 18, of no fixed address - three years and six months detention

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