MEMBERS of a ruthless drugs ring responsible for supplying thousands of pounds worth of crack cocaine and heroin in the town have been jailed.
After a painstaking 18 month investigation, Wiltshire Police finally infiltrated a criminal network peddling class A drugs onto the streets of Swindon.
Yesterday at Bristol Crown Court, nine men and two women were sent to prison for their part in conspiring to supply crack cocaine and heroin.
The investigation resulted in over one million lines of phone communication data being analysed by police from phones seized from all the defendants.
It also transpired that over a 10 month period in excess of £5,000 was spent on hiring vehicles alone which were changed frequently in an attempt to evade the police.
Investigating officer Sergeant Scott Hargreave said the gang had ruined lives and the community around them.
He said: “The sentencing of these nine men and two women is the culmination of a complex, 18 month investigation that uncovered a criminal network who conspired to bring Class A drugs into the Swindon area.
“Between January and April 2010, these offenders supplied thousands of pounds worth of illegal drugs to addicts and other vulnerable people.
“Their actions have not only directly ruined individuals’ lives but have also had a detrimental effect on the local community.”
Michael Gordon, 30, from Swindon, pleaded guilty to both charges and was sentenced to nine years; Emma Welch, 25, from Rawston Close, Swindon, pleaded guilty to both charges and was sentenced to 15 months; Christopher Howard, 32, from Sandgate, Swindon, pleaded guilty to both charges and was sentenced to two years; Ewan Williams, 24, from Cypress Grove, Swindon, pleaded guilty to both charges and was sentenced to nine months; Leo Dart, 31, from Cricklade Road, Swindon, pleaded guilty to both charges and was sentenced to two and a half years.
Gary Neil Steptoe, 32, from Kingswood Avenue, Swindon, pleaded guilty to both charges and was sentenced to two years and Carl Stuart Hislop, 29, from Dryden Street, Swindon, pleaded guilty to both charges and was sentenced to 12 months.
Four of the 11 originally denied the offences, but were found guilty at a trial on March 12: Christina Broomfield, 35, from Back Street, Ashton Keynes, who was sentenced to nine months suspended for two years; Leon Symonds,26, from Latton Close, Swindon, sentenced to 12 months suspended for two years; and Craig Gibbs, 27, from Swindon, who was jailed for 12 months.
James Dawson, 27, from London, was also charged with possession of crack cocaine with intent to supply. He was also found guilty and will be sentenced on May 23.
Sergeant Hargreave said he hopes this case will send a message to dealers. He said: “ I hope the sentence imposed today sends a clear message to drug dealers... we will use all the methods available to us to put you before the courts and ensure you are held accountable for your criminal behaviour.”