Seven members of a drugs gang who supplied at least a tonne of high-purity cocaine worth up to £70 million to dealers around the M25 have been jailed for a total of 111 years.
The sentence marks the end of a three-year police investigation during which detectives believe 20 drug distribution networks were smashed, with around 100 people arrested and charged, resulting in custodial sentences totalling more than 800 years.
A stolen £1 million Sir Stanley Spencer painting, titled Cookham From Englefield, was discovered in jailed drug dealer Harry Fisher’s home as part of the inquiry.
And the investigation was dubbed Operation Louboutin after the boxes of designer shoes discovered alongside the work, taken from the Stanley Spencer Gallery in Berkshire in 2012.
Judge Elaine Coello sentenced seven members of the gang to a total of 111 years imprisonment at Kingston Crown Court on Wednesday for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs between December 2016 and January 2018.
Lead by Dean Beeton, 37, they made around £2.7 million a week, as Giovanni Luciano, 33, arranged sales from his prison cell using a smuggled encrypted mobile phone.
Wholesale quantities of the Class A drug, with a 90% purity, were transported from the West Midlands to safe houses around London, from where runners would sell cocaine across London and beyond.
“People who are caught engaging in the wholesale distribution of cocaine can expect severe sentences and you are at the top of the criminal drug supply network,” the judge said.
“You cause the most damage because you are the main source of supply to the wholesalers, drug dealers and ultimately individuals.”
Judge Coello said a metric tonne was a “conservative estimate” of the drugs supplied by the men during the period – worth around £30 million wholesale and with a street value of £70 million.
“It is a scourge on society, the criminal organisations like the one you engaged in are the worst of the worst,” she told the men.
Beeton, from Watford, was jailed for 27 years, while Luciano, who is serving a previous sentence for supplying cocaine, was handed a 17-year jail term.
Perry Davis, 33, from South Oxhey, Watford, got 16 years; Gary Piper, 38, also from South Oxhey, 15 years; Jason Holland, 48, from Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire, 12 years; Mark Oldfield, 42, of no fixed address, 10 years; and Callum Doherty, 29, from Fulham, 14 years.
The sentencing brought to an end a much wider operation which saw police seize more than 280kg of cocaine, 8.5kg of heroin, 15,000 MDMA tablets and 45kg of cannabis.
A dozen viable firearms were also recovered, including a Scorpion submachine gun with ammunition.
Temporary Detective Superintendent Danny Gosling from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command said: “The sentencing of these seven men marks the end of this investigation, and the end of a long-running, complex and sophisticated operation which has resulted in the conviction of more than 100 individuals for being involved in the supply of drugs.
“There is an inextricable link between the supply of drugs and the violence we have seen unfolding on the streets of London.
“By dismantling numerous networks responsible for the supply of drugs, this operation has undoubtedly prevented incidents of violence and potentially saved lives.
“The individuals in this case attempted to prevent us from detecting their criminality and used a range of physical and digital means to do so.
“But with the collaboration of specialist crime officers, forensic teams, analysts, we have been able to prove unquestionably their involvement.”
Fisher was jailed for eight years and eight months at Kingston Crown Court in 2017 after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, acquiring criminal property and handling stolen goods.