100 years behind bars for drugs gang which targeted Plymouth
A GANG which plotted to flood the streets of Plymouth with cocaine and heroin has been sentenced to almost 100 years behind bars.
Eight people were today jailed for 45 years and one month for conspiring to bring drugs worth tens of thousands of pounds from Liverpool.
Thirteen members of the gang have now been locked up for a total of 96 years and 10 months after a police investigation codenamed Operation Rio.
Judge Paul Darlow said the gang had brought "misery" to the streets of Plymouth.
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Couriers made more than 100 trips between them to bring heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine, Plymouth Crown Court had heard.
Five fellow plotters are already serving more than 50 years behind bars.
Today Carl Barlow, aged 22, of Savage Road, St Budeaux was jailed for 11 years.
Alison Bates, aged 43, of Mintor Road, Liverpool, was jailed for three years and four months.
Karl Corson, aged 20 and of Tresillian Street, Cattedown, was locked up for four years.
James Griffin, aged 20, of East Lancashire Road, Liverpool, was sentenced to four years and eight months.
Patrick Mooney, aged 22, of Berkshire Drive, Ford, Plymouth, was handed an eight year and one month sentence.
Joseph Pines, aged 22, of Archer Place, North Road West, Plymouth, was locked up for six years and eight months.
John Ward, aged 19, of Embankment Road, Plymouth, was sent down for three years and four months.
Finally Patrick White, aged 19, and of Wolseley Crescent, Liverpool, was sentenced to four years.
Barlow had denied conspiracy to supply Class A drugs between January 2011 and May last year. But he was found guilty after trial. The other defendants had admitted the offence.
The jury heard during the five-week trial that Devon and Cornwall Police launched an investigation called Operation Rio early in 2011.
Officers intercepted three couriers bringing drugs from Merseyside to Plymouth. In one car, they found heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine with a street value of £165,000.
Couriers Elliot Barlow, aged 24 and of of Lenham Way, Liverpool, John Cavanagh, aged 50 and of Barbrook Way, Liverpool, and 55-year-old Lee Ellis, of Camperdown Street in Stoke, Plymouth, had already been jailed for their parts in the plot.
Judge Darlow jailed Cavanagh for 10 years eight months, Barlow for six years and Ellis for five years and four months.
Barbican antiques dealer Wayne Harle-Stephens, the gang's organiser, aged 56, and 30-year-old Liverpool motor trader Stephen Kearns have also already been jailed for a total of just under 30 years for masterminding the plot.
READ THE FULL STORY OF HOW THE GANG WAS CAUGHT AND BROUGHT TO JUSTICE IN THE HERALD TOMORROW