TWO West Berkshire men have been sentenced to more than 20 years behind bars for their part in a conspiracy to flood the south of England with class A drugs.
Gary De’Oliveira, aged 35, of London Road, Newbury and 48-year-old Arthur DeSousa of Dee Road, Tilehurst were arrested in January 2015 as part of a major Thames Valley Police operation.
Officers raided a property used by De’Oliveira in Newtown Road and found the men in possession of a large amount of class A drugs.
De’Oliveira subsequently pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to supply a class A drug (cocaine) and was sentenced to six years nine months in prison.
While DeSousa was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to supply a class A drug (cocaine) after a trial and was sentenced to 15 years behind bars.
The police operation saw officers swoop on properties across the south of England seizing around 9kg of cocaine, 1kg of MDMA powder, nearly 5,000 MDMA tablets, 4kg of amphetamine powder, 3kg of Methoxetamine and 18kg of cannabis resin with a combined street value of around £1.3million.
As a result 11 men and two women were charged and facing trial.
And at a sentencing hearing today (Friday) ten members of the gang, including ring leader Neil Waldey from Didcot, were sentenced to more than 70 years behind bars at Oxford crown court.
Head of the Serious and Organised Crime Unit Det Supt Nick John said: “This investigation and the subsequent jail terms represent an excellent result for our team, but more so for the public.
“This case has managed to remove large quantity of drugs and those who supply them from our society.
“I hope the length of the sentences handed down will act as a deterrent and a message to those involved in the drugs trade that we can and we will bring them to justice.”
Police say those convicted and now sentenced were involved in organised crime groups which made millions of pounds supplying drugs across the south of England.
The organised crime groups in Spain, Liverpool, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, London, Reading and Southend-on-sea supplied drugs which were then stored in Didcot, Newbury, Reading and Hemel Hempstead.
The drugs were then prepared for onward distribution to people in Avon and Somerset, Swindon, Oxford, Reading and Didcot.
Det Insp Rachel Wheatman, from the Thames Valley Police Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said: “Neil Wadley and the rest of his co-conspirators made substantial amounts of money supplying drugs across the South of England and beyond.
“Disrupting this extensive supply chain and sending those involved to jail for a long time has been extremely satisfying for all of us who worked on this series of investigations. I would like to thank all the police officers and staff for their efforts.
“This has been a lengthy and complex case involving a lot of hard work over a sustained period of around 18 months. This involved liasing with officers across the country and also in Spain in order to bring these offenders to justice.”
Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said: “This case sends out a clear message that the CPS and the police take these offences extremely seriously and anyone involved in the drugs trade can expect to be prosecuted.
“We will continue to work closely with our partners to ensure that persons involved in this kind of criminality are brought to justice to make our communities a safe place to live, work and visit.”
Pictured from left to right are (top row) Neil Wadley, Arthur DeSousa, Gary Hunt, Vasil Rica, Pauil Blair. Second row Glen Beasley, Errol Brown, Gary DeOliveira, Andrew Bowden and William Alexander.