JAILED: Drugs gang hid crack cocaine inside Kinder eggs
A gang of drug dealers have been jailed for more than 51 years for 'fuelling drug crime' in South Staffordshire.
The men, who are all part of the same organised crime group, were sentenced at Stafford Crown Court on Thursday to a total of 51 years seven months for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs in Hednesford, Cannock and Rugeley.
Detectives with Staffordshire Police gathered intelligence on members of the gang, who come from across Wolverhampton, Staffordshire and Walsall, after stopping a number of vehicles and searching them in the Cannock area.
Staffordshire Police’s major and organised crime department seized tens of thousands of pounds worth of drugs and cash, along with other high-value items including Rolex watches in searches after the arrests.
Rocks of crack cocaine were discovered concealed inside Kinder eggs in a search of a vehicle, while the court heard that group leader Dharmesh Patel, 33, of Shale Street, Bilston, tried to run away prior to his arrest in Bilston and threw away parts of a mobile phone and swallowed a SIM card.
All of the men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and crack cocaine between April 10, 2014 and August 10, 2015 in Rugeley in earlier hearings.
Patel was described as the leader of the group, with all other members except Morton described as performing significant roles. Morton was involved in one of the incidents.
During a search of Patel’s address £42,000 was seized, as well as an individual Rolex watch worth £12,600.
At a search of McFarlane's address 278 rocks of crack were found, along with 143g of crack cocaine and 170g of cocaine.
Judge Mark Eades told the men: "Crack cocaine causes untold misery and lives are wrecked.
"You as a gang have acted to push these drugs and have contributed in large measure to this misery."
The arrests were part of Operation Nemesis which focuses on protecting the vulnerable and tackling drug crime in our communities.
Chief Inspector Geoff Knight, commander of Cannock Chase local policing team, said: "This is a great result and we are delighted to see eight men behind bars for a considerable period of time.
"All of these men played a significant role in fuelling drug crime in south Staffordshire and their sentences are very much welcomed.
"I hope this serves as a clear warning to those who think they can commit drug crime in Staffordshire - you will be caught and dealt with. Such criminal activity will not be tolerated.
"Staffordshire Police is committed to tackling drug crime in our communities and our work will continue under Operation Nemesis.
"Our efforts to bring these men to justice mean they will no longer be able to bring drugs to the streets of Staffordshire."
Patel was sentenced to 12 years and six months.
Martin Charleton Kelly, aged 44, of Holyoake Place, Rugeley, was sentenced to eight years and one month.
Christopher Mayers, aged 30, of Cedar Crescent, Rugeley, was sentenced to six years and three months.
Leon Morton, aged 30, of Hazel Grove, St Chads, Bilston, was sentenced to four years.
Daniel Nelson, aged 36, of Barracks Lane, Walsall, was sentenced to four years and six months.
Matthew Adderley, aged 37, of Waterbrook Way, Bridgtown, Cannock, was sentenced to four years.
Jamaine McFarlane, aged 31, of Heantun Rise, Waterloo Road, was sentenced to six years.
Andrew Junior Chambers, aged 45, of Slade Road, Wolverhampton, was sentenced to six years and three months.
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