TWO brothers who were caught ferrying thousands of pounds worth of cocaine into Swindon have been jailed.
Julian and Gary Cox arranged for the drugs to be brought to the town from the West Midlands via a contact in Bristol, while a third brother, Kenneth, was earlier convicted of being concerned in the supply of class A narcotics.
The pair were not aware they were being watched by police, who swooped when one of them went for the pick up near a Gorse Hill park.
Charles Thomas, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how 36-year-old Julian was one of the main players in the operation to get the cocaine on to the streets.
He said that in September 2012 undercover police watched as the builder and his 34-year-old brother met Marsel Hudri, who Gary knew through work, in a recreation area. The men were then in contact by phone, on mobiles only ever used for drug dealing, before meeting up again in the park a week later.
A few days later Hudri, 33, drove from Bristol to the Birmingham area, said Mr Thomas, to pick up the consignment. He then got another Albanian, Edi Kollobani, 30, to drive them from Bristol to Swindon on the evening of September 20, 2012.
But after he pulled up in Buller Street, Gorse Hill, and Gary and his nephew Colin Cox, 23, got into the car, officers swooped and arrested the three men.
In the glove box of the car they found 250g of street-deal strength cocaine and an ounce of super strong powder with a 90 per cent purity. Mr Thomas said that if it had been cut into small deals then it could have been sold for more than £18,000.
Julian Cox was arrested soon after at his home, where officers found a number of mobile phones and a bag of sim cards, showing he was “forensically aware”. Mr Thomas said the handset he used for calling Hudri was a “dirty phone” which only ever called a couple of numbers.
At the home of a third brother, Kenneth Cox, 38, police found a quantity of cutting agents, while in a garage he had a strong arm press, used for packing cocaine.
When Kollobani’s house was raided, officers found about £17,500 in cash, which was the proceeds of drug dealing.
Julian Cox, of Deburgh Street, Rodbourne, Gary Cox, of Ipswich Street, Gorse Hill, Hudri, of Bradley Stoke, Bristol, and Kollobani, of no fixed abode, all admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine. Colin Cox, of Bowood Road, Kingshill, denied the charge and last year was cleared by a jury after saying he knew nothing of the drugs and had just given his uncle a lift.
Kenneth Cox, of Urchfont Way, Penhill, was put on a suspended sentence last year after admitting being concerned in the supply of cocaine.
Three months before their arrest Julian and Gary had been involved in drug dealing in Staffordshire. Julian was jailed for four years and three months for conspiracy to supply cocaine after he was caught trying to bring the drugs from the area to Swindon.
Gary got 18 months for conspiracy to supply cannabis when the pair were sentenced in June last year.
Chris Smyth, for Julian, said his client was serving a lengthy jail term for the earlier matters and asked the judge to bear that in mind when sentencing.
David Maunder, for Gary, said his client had already done the 18-month jail term and had been on remand since for almost seven months. He said the father of two daughters, aged nine and seven months, played a lesser role and was the one collecting the drugs, not in a ‘management’ position.
Andrew Hobson, for Hudri, said his client was an intelligent man but had got into debt and was looking for a way of raising some money.
Martin Wiggins, for Kollobani, said he had come into the country illegally on a lorry shortly before his arrest and was just the driver in the operation.
Jailing the men, Judge Douglas Field said on Thursday: “This was a conspiracy relating to about a quarter of a kilogram of cocaine at 12 per cent purity, and an ounce at a very high purity of 90 per cent. If the conspiracy had not been interrupted, street deals of about £18,000 would have been achieved.”
He added two years to the four years three months Julian is already serving, sentenced Gary to three years, Hudri to six years, and Kollobani to 28 months and told him he would be deported once he had served it.
NAILED AFTER A SUMMER OF OBSERVATIONS
THE Cox brothers became the target of a regional organised crime squad after intelligence picked up by neighbourhood police.
The convictions of Gary, Julian and Kenneth came as a result of a long-running joint operation between the Rodbourne Cheney neighbourhood policing team and Zephyr, the regional organised crime unit who were targeting the Swindon-based crime family.
Covert surveillance nailed the gang, which had links to Blackburn-based drug dealers Graham Samara1 and Curtis Whitehead2, who have also been jailed for their part in the trade.
Throughout the summer of 2012, officers observed their movements resulting in the arrests of Bogdan Lenartowski3, and Sean Stapleton4, from Swindon, and Adam Burt5 from Blackburn. The men were involved in the supply of two kilogammes of cocaine, one kilogram of methodrone and 1.7kg of cannabis, as well as cash and cutting agents, which were destined for the streets of Swindon.
Analysts from Zephyr were able to ascertain Gary Cox and Julian Cox were both involved in the purchase and movement of these drugs, therefore conspiring to sell them.
All men except Samara admitted their involvement in the supply of class A and class B drugs and after a trial in Stafford Crown Court, Samara, 32, of Bolton Road, Blackburn was sentenced to nine-and-a-half years in jail in June.
Also in the same month Curtis Whitehead, 32, of Leamington Road, Blackburn, was jailed for five years and eight months, while Burt, 29, of Hermitage Street, Blackburn, was given four years and eight months.
Meanwhile, Lenartowski, 63, of Gladstone Street, Swindon, and Stapleton, 31, of Covingham Square, were jailed for more than three years each for their roles as couriers.
Julian and Gary Cox were also jailed and the latest sentences, handed out for further offences in the autumn of 2012, will run concurrently to those already being served.
CONVICTION WAS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME
DETECTIVES have welcomed the latest round of sentences for a Swindon crime ring smashed by local and regional officers.
The combined total of 18 years, nine months in jail time handed to Julian and Gary Cox, and their associates Kollobani and Hudri, brought the total combined amount of time the gang will serve in jail to more than 50 years.
DI Jim Taylor, from the Zephyr regional crime squad, said it sent a clear message to those peddling drugs in the town. He said: “Many hours of surveillance were conducted and the fact that the majority of the defendants pleaded guilty prior to trial indicates the overwhelming evidence we had against them.
“The Cox brothers believed they were clever in the way they conducted their business. It was only a matter of time before they were caught. Their conviction should send out a message that no matter how sophisticated your criminal network is, we will come after you and we will convict you.”
The case was initiated after intelligence from local officers. Inspector Paul Hacker, from the west sector neighbourhood policing team, said: “We rely on community intelligence so that in partnership we can combat this type of crime and make our communities safer.” Anyone with any information should contact Wiltshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.