The huge hauls of cash and drugs uncovered from dealers in Wales
Every year drug dealers and those associated with the illicit drug trade are apprehended with hundreds and thousands of pounds worth of class A drugs and cash passing hands. The crime is often depicted as being glamorous with perpetrators being able to afford luxury cars and holidays to Dubai but the reality results in hefty jail sentences and ruined lives. Here are some of the biggest drug cases heard before Welsh courts recently.
(Image: North Wales Police)(Image: North Wales Police)
A Spirte GT-R two-seater sport car, a jet ski, GBP80k in cash and GBP2m in drugs were seized after a criminal crew fronted by kingpin Colin Jones was busted.
The group, which had flooded Wales with cocaine, heroin and amphetamine, was busted as part of Operation Tide, during which a series of warrants were executed in dawn raids in Deeside, Merseyside and Scotland late last year. Dubbed the ‘largest policing operation in history’, it also led to officers bugging one of the gang’s cars and overhearing them orchestrating a ‘hit’ on one of their ex-members. The recordings led to the demise of the 18-strong cartel who, at Mold Crown Court, were handed a jail sentences totalling 146 years, with 49-year-old Jones going down for 21 years for orchestrating a plan to attack Lee Murray and conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
Dale Wigglesworth, 44, was found with up to GBP1m worth of cocaine in his truck on the M4 in Newport (Image: Gwent Police)
Drugs courier Dale Wigglesworth, 44, was found with up to GBP1m worth of cocaine after being stopped on the M4 by police.
He had travelled from his home in the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, at 4am on June 6 last year and was destined for an address in Newport. But at around 8am he was stopped by officers who searched his Iveco truck and found 12kg of cocaine in a tin which had been kept inside a bin liner sellotaped to the floor in a hollow section underneath the passenger seat. They also found an itinerary written in code, but easily deciphered, which revealed Wigglesworth had trafficked up to GBP6m worth of cocaine in the week preceding his arrest alone.
The estimated value of the cocaine was found to be between GBP420,000 and GBP540,000 at wholesale value and between GBP960,000 and GBP1.2m at street value. Wigglesworth, of High Street, Queenborough, Kent, was jailed for seven years and eight months, at Cardiff Crown Court on November 30 last year.
Flavio Picaku was tending hundreds of plants and living without the knowledge of the owners inside an empty hotel (Image: South Wales Police)
Flavio Picaku, 25, was found to be cultivating more than half a million pounds’ worth of cannabis inside the Commercial Hotel in Pontypridd where officers discovered 608 cannabis plants. The Albanian national was also living inside the hotel, which was in the process of being renovated, without the permission of the owners.
A search was conducted of the four-storey hotel and seven rooms were found to contain a total of 608 plants which were seized. They were described as being healthy in appearance and well-fed. It was calculated there was between 16kg and 52kg of cannabis worth between GBP201,700 and GBP638,400.
Picaku was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment at Cardiff Crown Court on June 19 last year.
Yousef Woolcock, leader of a Barry drug gang, was jailed at Cardiff Crown Court on December 11 (Image: South Wales Police)
Yousef Woolcock flooded the Valleys with “wholesale quantities” of heroin and crack cocaine. The drug gang boss of White Farm, Barry, headed a sophisticated drug gang which supplied massive amounts of class A drugs to street dealers and users in Rhondda Cynon Taff and Merthyr Tydfil on an “almost daily basis”, a court was told. See the crimes where you live by entering your post code:
Between August 2018 and July 2019, the 37-year-old distributed at least 18kg of heroin and crack cocaine and that he used a mobile phone known as the “Barry line” to contact dealers and customers. Woolcock even carried on his illegal enterprise while in Cardiff prison in November 2018, the court was told. A Proceeds of Crime Act hearing was told Woolcock had benefited to the tune of GBP600,000 as a result of the drug enterprise.
He was jailed for 17 years and six months at Cardiff Crown Court on December 13, 2019.
Jamie Germaine, of Pepys Crescent, Llanrumney, was sentenced to six years and nine months imprisonment at Cardiff Crown Court (Image: South Wales Police)
Grandfather Jamie Germaine, 47, recruited his sons in a national cannabis operation worth thousands of pounds lived a lavish lifestyle including family holidays to Dubai. The organised crime boss made thousands of pounds worth of profit through his drug dealing operation which saw more than 100kg of cannabis dealt over a seven-month period. His two sons Tyrell Germaine, 23, and Shaquille Germaine, 21, also played significant parts in the enterprise, which was based at their father’s family home in Cardiff.
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A Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) hearing heard Jamie Germaine benefited from his criminal conduct to the tune of GBP488,570.88.
Germaine, of Pepys Crescent, Llanrumney, was sentenced to six years and nine months imprisonment at Cardiff Crown Court on July 11, 2019.
Ha Manh Hai
Ha Manh Hai (Image: South Wales Police)
Vietnamese national Ha Manh Hai, 43, was found running a “sophisticated” cannabis farm following reports of a burglary. Just before 6am on August 4 last year police received calls from people living in Pentregethin Road in the Ravenhill area of Swansea reporting that there appeared to be a burglary taking place. Officers were quickly on the scene and found the house in question had been “wholly given over” to the growing of cannabis.
The court heard the electricity meter had been bypassed and four rooms had been fitted out for cultivation with lights and reflectors, fans, an air filtration system, and watering equipment. In total some 274 plants were recovered including a number of young plants in a “nursery” section. It was estimated the potential yield from the crop the defendant had been tending was almost 23kg and that it could be worth more than GBP230,000.
Hai was sentenced to six months in prison at Swansea Crown Court on October 28 last year.
Shalane Hodder, 36, was found with thousands of tablets at her home in Trinant, Caerphilly (Image: Gwent Police/CPS)
Shalane Hodder, 36, ran a commercial scale drugs operation from her home which saw her import drugs from India and Siberia to sell via WhatsApp. She was found with more than 92,000 tablets – worth up to GBP112,000 – at her home in Trinant, Caerphilly, and at a caravan in Blackwood, worth up to GBP112,000. She had also received payments of GBP145,000 over a period between January and September 2019, which had been accrued through dealing to a customer network of almost 10,500 people in more than 100 WhatsApp groups that Hodder was a member of.
The defendant also involved her partner Laurie Parfitt, 31, and brother Rhys Dee, 28, in the enterprise by using their bank accounts to launder money. Hodder was sentenced to two years and six months in prison at Cardiff Crown Court on January 29.
Karwan Kareem said he was paid GBP300 for tending the plants, which an expert said were ‘well-maintained’ (Image: Crown Prosecution Service (main)/Gwent Police (inset))
Karwan Kareem, 29, was caught in a cannabis factory containing more than 130 plants worth almost GBP140,000. He claimed he was there to have a bath.
He tried to run away when police officers forced entry to one property then attempted to climb off a roof when caught again in another property nine days later. Officers found 190 mature plants in six rooms along with a bag of dried cannabis. The plants would have had a potential street value of between GBP34,000 and GBP125,000 depending on whether they reached full maturity and how they were sold.
Kareem was jailed for 16 months at Cardiff Crown Court on July 28 last year.
The cash was found in Neil Croston’s car when it was stopped on the A470 (Image: Tarian)
Neil Croston was found with more than GBP100,000 cash in his car when he was stopped on the A470. The 45-year-old’s BMW was stopped near Brecon on May 28, 2019, and he told a police officer from the Tarian unit: “There’s loads of money in the car.” Officers from the regional organised crime unit had received intelligence that the defendant from Liverpool was involved in the supply of Class A drugs and he was believed to have travelled to south Wales on that day to complete a drug deal.
A search of the car uncovered two carrier bags in the rear of the vehicle crammed full of bundles of notes. Croston was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court on July 17 last year. The court also imposed a confiscation order for GBP117,350.
Adeniyi Adesina, Angharad Bullock and Ibrahim Nyei
(Left to right) Adeniyi Adesina, 37 Angharad Bullock, 43 and Ibrahim Nyei, 27. (Image: South Wales Police)
Adeniyi Adesina, Angharad Bullock and Ibrahim Nyei were discovered trying to flush up to GBP75,000 worth of heroin and cocaine down the toilet as a property was raided by police. They were all involved in a county lines drugs operation based in Pontardawe.
Police carried out a drugs warrant at a property registered to Bullock in James Street at 2pm on June 11 last year. Upon entering the building officers discovered Adesina in the bathroom with his hand inside the toilet bowl trying to dispose of a crack cocaine rock weighing 9.49g. The total value of the drugs found at the property was GBP75,760.
Adesina, 37, was sentenced to six years and nine months imprisonment, Bullock, 43, was sentenced to six years and six months imprisonment, and Nyei, 27, was sentenced to four years imprisonment, at Swansea Crown Court on January 12.
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