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Seven men have been sentenced to a total of 19 years and four months in prison for their part in a drugs ring operating across the southern counties.
Troy Clack, 20, Laundry Road, Southampton, Hampshire
Simon Simpson, 32, Langport Avenue, Manchester, Greater Manchester
Dale Carroll, 23, Mansfield Avenue, Blackley, Greater Manchester
Sonny Elms, 20, Manordale Walk, Collyhurst, Greater Manchester
Robert Guilfoyle, 21, Stablys Dolcoath, Pengegon, Camborne, Cornwall
Jake Newson, 20, Mount Gould Road, Plymouth, Devon
Ryan Poole, 24, Clough Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester
The seven men were arrested in September 2011 for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs in connection with a co-ordinated drug cell distributing drugs on the streets of Hampshire, Dorset, Sussex and Devon and Cornwall between between 2006 and 2011.
The arrests were carried out under Operation Asquith, targeting key members of the organised drug gang, who were setting up and co-ordinating drug cells in Hampshire, and across the south region to supply crack cocaine and heroin.
The investigation revealed that Simon SIMPSON was the head of the organisation, who recruited the others to facilitate the drug supply on the various towns across the South Coast.
Hampshire Constabulary’s Major Investigation Team led and co-ordinated arrests in Plymouth, Southampton, Manchester and Sheffield, assisted by colleagues from Devon and Cornwall, Dorset, South Yorkshire Police and Greater Manchester Police.
Shortly after 7am on September 15, 2011, 100 officers from the five forces involved in the operation executed warrants in Plymouth, Southampton, Sheffield, and Manchester.
The arrests came after a lengthy investigation which led police to a drug dealing network originating in Manchester and operating across the South of England.
Seven others, one man and six women, were sentenced in November and December last year in relation to money laundering for the organised criminal gang. They were:
Michelle Marlow, 28, Golden Grove, Southampton
Sarah Owen, 28, Tynewell Walk, Manchester, Greater Manchester
Charlene Simpson, 30, Mere Drive, Swinton, Greater Manchester
Bonar Kekula, 23, Aldbourne Close, Manchester, Greater Manchester
Rebecca Lawson, 33, Knowl Street, Stalybridge, Cheshire
Angela Sweeney, 32, Marberry Road, Stockport, Cheshire
Jeannie Cordner, 24, Maltravers Road, Wybourne, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Detective Sergeant Ross Toms of Hampshire Major Investigation Team said;
“Today’s sentencing should serve as a warning to others that drug dealers are not tolerated in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
“We are committed to making the two counties a hostile environment for criminals, especially those who bring with them the kind of misery and additional crime that goes hand in hand with drugs and their supply.
"It took thorough and lengthy investigation to identifying this criminal gang, which had previously avoided detection by internally secreting Class A drugs when travelling from Manchester to the South coast.
"I sincerely hope the result we’ve seen today goes some way to reassure people living and working in the two counties that we take a hard line on drug dealing and will always push for conviction.”
Operation Asquith follows Hampshire Constabulary’s 2009 Operation Ice-cold, and 2011 Operation Landlord. These targeted part of the same organised criminal gang based in Manchester suspected of travelling into Southampton, Portsmouth and Winchester since 2009 and setting up drug cells to sell large amounts of crack cocaine and heroin on the streets.
Three men were later convicted of supplying crack cocaine and heroin and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
In early 2011 officers targeted the Portsmouth branch of this gang (Operation Landlord). The seven suspects were later convicted of bringing large quantities of heroin through Amsterdam and selling it to the streets of Portsmouth. They were sentenced to a total of 35 years in prison.
In May 2012 the force set up Operation Fortress to respond to a series of drug-related violent crime in and around Southampton.
The campaign has brought together many people from across the force and from the wider community to help restrict the supply of drugs and reduce the demand for them as well as help communities rebuilding themselves free from the fear of drugs and drug-related violence.
Troy Clack – 2 years 4 months. He also received one year for a separate offence of violent disorder during the summer riots.
Simon Simpson – 6 years 4 months
Dale Carroll – 3 years 4 months
Sonny Elms – 2 years 4 months
Robert Guilfoyle – 2 years
Jake Newson – 2 years 4 months
Ryan Poole – 3 years
All men were given credit for early guilty pleas and had their sentences reduced accordingly.