Seven jailed over Shrewsbury drugs conspiracy

Seven people who ran a county lines conspiracy peddling class A drugs to hundreds of people in Shrewsbury have been jailed for more than 36 years in total.

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Stock image

Anthony Gray was the mastermind of the Liverpool-based network, with his younger brother Jordon Gray and five others helping to sell crack cocaine and heroin on the streets of Shrewsbury.

The Gray brothers oversaw the trafficking of drugs from Merseyside to Shrewsbury, where their subordinates advertised them for sale by sending hundreds of messages from shared "pool phones".

It was run from two houses in Shrewsbury, including the home of Kelly Carter in York Road. She willingly let her house be used as the base for selling drugs, Shrewsbury Crown Court heard.

Police tracked cars associated with the dealers making journeys between Shropshire and Merseyside throughout 2015. In all there were over 200 journeys between Liverpool and Shrewsbury.

The conspiracy was shattered by police towards the end of that year when they arrested the key members and this week the Gray brothers, their "enforcer" Dean Pritchard, their uncle Gary Cox, their host Kelly Carter and two junior members, Zac Dillon and Shaun King, were all sent to prison.

Anthony Gray, 38 was sentenced to eight years in prison for playing the leading role in the conspiracy.

He coordinated the others from Liverpool throughout 2015 and his brother, 29, took over from him for a short period while the former was in jail.

For his part, Jordon Gray was sentenced to six years and four months.

Pritchard, 27, was known as 'Denga' to the others and played the role of an "enforcer", using threats and aggression to maintain the conspiracy's foothold in Shropshire.

Judge Anthony Lowe also jailed him for six years and four months.

The judge addressed Carter, 33, and said: "You yourself were vulnerable and may have been subjected to threats but the reality is you willingly took part in this operation from the beginning."

He sentenced her to five years and four months.

Dillon, 26, is in custody and did not attend the sentencing hearing. He joined the conspiracy in May 2015. days after getting out of prison for supplying class A drugs, the judge said.

He was arrested at Carter's house and photographs were found of him posing with guns and drugs.

The judge sentenced him to four years and 10 months.

'Misplaced loyalty'

Judge Lowe addressed Cox, 54, next. He is the uncle of the Grays and acted as a driver for their conspiracy out of "misplaced loyalty", the judge said.

Cox was jailed for two years and 10 months,

King is the youngest conspirator at 22. He was involved in November and December of 2015 and was seen by covert police with Pritchard.

The judge sentenced him to two years and six months.

The conspiracy was stopped by Operation Insulate in 2015 but it was not until 2017 that Carter, Cox, Dillon, the Gray brothers and Pritchard all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs. King was found guilty of conspiracy in a trial earlier this year.

Carter, of Hurleybrook Way in Leegomery; Cox, of Dymchurch Road in Liverpool; Dillon, of HMP Hull; Anthony Gray, of Rainhill in Merseyside; Jordon Gray, of Sandgate Close in Liverpool and Pritchard, of Sandown Road in Liverpool, all received a reduction in their sentences for pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity.

King, of Beechwood Gardens in Liverpool, was on bail following his conviction earlier this year.

Prosecutor Graham Russell brought the case against the conspirators.

Another sentencing hearing was going ahead today for six people from across Shropshire who were also involved and are guilty of a lesser charge of being concerned in the supply of the drugs.

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

They were all users and addicts who helped the conspiracy by hiring cars and providing transport, some of them in return for drugs and some to pay off debts.

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