SEVEN people who were part of a drug dealing network have been jailed for a total of nearly 20 years for supplying class A drugs in Worcester.
The arrests are the final success for West Mercia Police’s Operation Dorado, a major anti-drugs initiative by West Mercia Police’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit (Socu) that targeted organised crime groups from the West Midlands supplying heroin and crack cocaine to local dealers in Worcester.
This included an undercover officer infiltrating the drugs community in Worcester to identify dealers. Those sentenced today are the final group to appear in court as result of the operation, which means it led to 45 people being prosecuted to a total of 166 years in prison.
Operation Dorado started with a covert phase in 2012 that took many months with detectives collecting evidence against criminals from the West Midlands and street dealers in Worcester.
The undercover officer, known as a test purchase officer and referred to in court only as ‘Danny’, infiltrated the drugs community in Worcester and over four months purchased cocaine and heroin from many different dealers.
The information collected by Danny led Socu detectives to a number of organised crime groups, including those sentenced at Worcester Crown Court on Friday.
Shavan Reid, aged 25, originally of Quinton, Birmingham, was sentenced to six years and Simon Gordon, aged 32 and formally from West Bromwich, was sentenced to four years and eight months, both for conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin, and money laundering.
The pair were both in prison for burglary offences at the time of the operation, but evidence proved they were both setting up drugs purchases and using a network of runners to sell on the drugs. They also used threats and intimidation to control their operation despite being imprisoned.
Maria Edwards, aged 43, of Ridgacre Road, Quinton, Birmingham, was sentenced to 18 months for conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin, and money laundering. Reid’s mother, she assisted her son with organising his network as well as the laundering of his drug profits.
Warren Miller, aged 27, of Cotswold Close, Oldbury, was sentenced to two years and eight months for conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin, and money laundering. Miller was Reid and Gordon’s right-hand man and their ‘warehouse man’. He would obtain large quantities of drugs from dealers in the West Midlands and pass them on to runners for them to distribute to street dealers.
Sonari ‘Marcus’ Wokoma, aged 21, of Antrobus Road, Birmingham, was sentenced to two years for conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin, and money laundering. Wokoma worked as a drugs runner, transporting the drugs from Birmingham to Worcester.
Jack Ashton, aged 21, previously of London Road, Worcester, and Cree Dacres, aged 19 and of Slade Road, Birmingham, were sentenced to a year and two months and a year and eight months respectively for conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin, and money laundering. Ashton and Dacres were considered Reid and Gordon’s main ‘foot soldiers’ and did much of the dealing locally in Worcester on their behalf.
All the defendants had their sentences reduced after pleaded guilty to the offences at previous hearings.
Socu’s Detective Sergeant Andy Bailey said: “It is really satisfying to see so many of those involved in dealing Class A drugs, which destroy lives and harm local communities, jailed because of one operation.
“It has taken 18 months for all 45 people to be dealt with by the courts and if you include two other major investigations by Socu into drug dealing in Worcester, we have seen 60 people prosecuted for drug dealing-related crimes in that time.
“I hope this sends out a message to anyone intending to deal drugs in Worcestershire that we will pursue them with unflinching tenacity and it will only be a matter of time before we bring them to justice.
“Dorado aimed to not just tackle street dealers but the organised crime groups who were supplying them with heroin and cocaine, many of them working out of Birmingham and the Black Country.
“Although the issue of drugs is no more of a problem in Worcester than it is elsewhere in the country, the unlawful supply of controlled drugs by organised gangs has a real impact on all of our communities.
“The misuse of drugs is a factor in many other types of crimes, for example burglary, and we are determined to deal with those who seek to profit from this type of organised criminality.
“During this investigation we specifically targeted those organising the drug supply so we could have the biggest impact on those who were profiting the most.”