Shropshire drugs conspiracy gang in court for sentencing

Prosecutors in Shropshire have asked for the ringleader of a heroin and crack cocaine conspiracy to be jailed for 14 years.

Shrewsbury Crown Court
Shrewsbury Crown Court

Seven members of a Liverpool-based conspiracy that trafficked crack and heroin from Merseyside to sell in Shropshire appeared in court today, and will be sentenced for their part in the coming days.

The six men and one woman who are all guilty of conspiracy to supply drugs were at Shrewsbury Crown Court today for the start of a complex sentencing exercise that will likely continue into next week.

They are Kelly Carter, 33; Gary Cox, 54; Zac Dillon, 26; Anthony Gray, 38; his brother Jordon Gray, 29; Shaun King, 22 and Dean Pritchard, 27.

Graham Russell prosecuting, said: "The evidence suggests that the drugs concerned were predominantly but not exclusively heroin and crack cocaine. Other drugs include amphetamines, MDMA and cannabis.

"The operation was masterminded in and controlled from Liverpool but it was managed 'on the ground' as it were from certain addresses in Shrewsbury."

Anthony Gray played the leading role in the conspiracy and co-ordinated the others with Pritchard acting as an "enforcer", said Mr Russell.

He recommended that Gray be jailed for 14 years.

The conspiracy had two footholds in Shrewsbury in the form of houses where drugs were sold, including Carter's former home in York Road.

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Dealers used six 'pool phones' to send out mass texts advertising drugs for sale in 2015.

Mr Russell said that police investigating the conspiracy found incriminating text messages between the pool phones, as well as camera footage of a car registered to Anthony Gray making trips between Liverpool and Shropshire.

The pool phones were tracked moving to and from Liverpool on several occasions, he said.

Pritchard, known to associates as "Denga" travelled between the two often and was in regular contact with other dealers and addicts in the network.

On two occasions police were called to reports of disorder and on both occasions Pritchard was there, the court heard.

He was making threats directed at Adrian Harley, another man involved, who he accused of taking his "bits" (drugs), the court heard.

The conspiracy was brought to an end by police in December 2015 as part of Operation Insulate, when the Grays, Pritchard and King were all found in one car and arrested.

Custody

In 2017, Carter, Cox, Dillon, the Gray brothers and Pritchard all pleaded guilty to being involved. King was found guilty of conspiracy in a trial earlier this year.

Carter, of Hurleybrook Way in Leegomery; Cox, of Dymchurch Road in Liverpool; Anthony Gray, of Rainhill in Merseyside; Jordon Gray, of Sandgate Close in Liverpool and King, of Beechwood Gardens in Liverpool, are all on bail.

Dillon, of HMP Hull and Pritchard, of Sandown Road in Liverpool, were brought from custody for Thursday's hearing.

A separate sentencing hearing will go ahead next week for six people from across Shropshire who are guilty of a lesser charge of being concerned in the supply of the drugs.

The six who will be sentenced next week are Paul Davies, 44, of Churncote in Stirchley; Lee Dunbar, 41, of Church Lane in Bicton; Adrian Harley, 57, of Kenrick Close in Woore; Andrew Quiney, 32, of The Barn in Shawbury; Clare Ring, 49, of Featherbed Lane in Shrewsbury, and Erin Vesayaporn, 39, of Wayford Close in Dorrington.

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