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From first class to prison for drugs gang leader as Wolverhampton dealers locked up

By Jordan Reynolds | Wolverhampton | Crime | Published: | Last Updated:

The leader of a Wolverhampton drugs ring's lavish lifestyle has come to an end after he was locked up for 18 and a half years.

Christopher Jones pictured in his police mug shot, posing with a gun and riding a camel

Christopher Jones, formerly and better known as Ricky Bates, was sentenced for a variety of offences including supplying cocaine, amphetamines and GBL, possessing an pump-action shotgun and importing a firearm.

The 32-year-old from Codsall followed in the footsteps of five of his gang members when he was sent down yesterday.

Jones enjoying a first-class flight

Street dealers Harpreet Johal, Jamie Sinclair, Alex Wootton and Colin Brown were sentenced in September alongside Ramandeep Singh, who was said by police to have acted as Jones' "relief manager".

Their sentences were as follows:

  • Ramandeep Singh, 35, of Stafford Road, Wolverhampton, jailed for six years for conspiracy to supply cocaine and conspiracy to supply GBL.
  • Harpreet Johal, 49, of Duckhouse Road, Wolverhampton, was jailed for five years and three months for conspiracy to supply cocaine.
  • Jamie Sinclair, 38, of Mansard Grove, Wolverhampton, was jailed for four years and four months for conspiracy to supply cocaine.
  • Alex Wootton, 22, of Church Road, Wolverhampton, was jailed for 20 months for conspiracy to supply cocaine.
  • Colin Brown, 37, already serving a four-year six-month sentence for conspiracy to supply cocaine, was jailed for a further two months.

Jones, who enjoyed a lavish lifestyle including first-class trips to Dubai, was jailed four years after first being arrested by police in December 2015.

On that occasion police searched his house in Moatbrook Lane, Codsall, and seized two shotguns, 1.3kgs of amphetamines, 22.9kgs of benzocaine, 8.8 litres of GBL (gamma butyrolactone) and digital scales containing traces of cocaine.

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GBL is a liquid class C drug commonly known as G or liquid ecstasy, while benzocaine is an anaesthetic legitimately used for pain relief but commonly imported by drug dealers for cutting up cocaine.

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One of the firearms recovered was a Sauer ‘side-by-side’ double-barrelled shotgun which had been stolen in a burglary at a farm in Cocknage, near Stoke-on-Trent, in 2014, and the other was a sawn-off shotgun.

A further package containing 25kg of benzocaine was intercepted by UK Border Force at Coventry Airport having been flown to Jones from Hong Kong.

Christopher Jones aka Ricky Bates in a photo posted on his Facebook page

Two years later Jones was chased down after being spotted driving a Vauxhall Insignia near his home in Perton, Staffordshire Police said.

A police officer saw him leaving his car and reaching behind a cable box in Roundway Down on October 9, 2017.

Jones attempted to get away but was detained and his vehicle and home address in nearby Cheshire Grove were searched where cocaine, bundles of cash and digital scales were recovered.

It was after this arrest that police managed to piece together evidence from phone records, searches and interviews which led to the arrest of Singh and the five Wolverhampton street dealers.

Charged and sentenced

Brown, Sinclair and Wootton all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine, while Johal and Singh were both found guilty after a trial at Stafford Crown Court. Those five were all sentenced on September 30.

Meanwhile Jones admitted 10 offences in May and was sentenced on Friday. (Scroll down for the full charges and sentences).

Christopher Jones posing with a gun

Det Sgt James Byrne, of Staffordshire Police, said: “Christopher Jones will be known to most people in south Staffordshire as Ricky Bates.

"He ran a drugs supply operation bringing cocaine and a host of other illegal substances to the streets of south Staffordshire and the West Midlands.

“It is concerning that he was found in possession of two firearms and was involved in a conspiracy to import further ones from Albania.

"We are glad the result of our detectives’ painstaking work in building this complex case is that Jones and his associates are now behind bars.”

The full charges and sentences for Christopher Jones, of Cheshire Grove, Perton, were:

  • Conspiracy to supply cocaine between June 1 2015 and December 31, 2015. Sentence: Seven and a half years.
  • Possession of a self-loading/pump action smooth bore gun (ie shotgun) on December 9, 2015. Sentence: Five years to be served consecutively.
  • Conspiracy to import a firearm between June 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015. Sentence: Three and a half years to be served consecutively.
  • Acquire/use/possess criminal property (£43,444.02) between January 7, 2015 and May 6, 2016. Sentence: Two years to be served concurrently.
  • Possession of a shotgun without a certificate on December 29, 2015. Sentence: 22 months to be served concurrently.
  • Possession of cocaine with intent to supply on October 9, 2018. Sentence: 12 months to be served consecutively.
  • Possession of amphetamine with intent to supply on December 29, 2015. Sentence: 11 months to be served concurrently.
  • Conspiracy to supply GBL between June 1, 2015 and December 1,2015. Sentence: Nine months to be served consecutively.
  • Conspiracy to import GBL between June 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015. Sentence: Nine months to be served concurrently.
  • Intentionally encouraging/assisting the commission of supplying cocaine by importing Benzocaine between June 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015. Sentence: Nine months to be served consecutively.
Jordan Reynolds

By Jordan Reynolds
Reporter - @jreynolds_star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star.

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