A gang has been jailed for a total of more than 24 years for their roles in a conspiracy to sell cocaine in Portsmouth.
Anthony Timmins, 35, Steven Thomas, 36, Andrew Balderston, 36, and Lee Reynolds, 33, were caught thanks to a probe by Hampshire’s Major Investigation Team between 2010 and 2012.
It culminated in the men’s arrests when dawn raids were conducted in Portsmouth and Windsor in March last year.
At Allen Motors in Auckland Road East in Southsea, where Lee Reynolds worked, police found a mechanical press in the workshop with traces of cocaine.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard Reynolds was the firm’s sole employee, and grandson of the owner’s late wife.
Police searching Balderston’s Milton Road home in Milton, Portsmouth, found 214g of 76 per cent pure cocaine with a street value of £42,800. One set of scales containing cannabis traces and another containing traces of cocaine and a cutting agent were seized.
At Timmins’ former Southsea home in South Parade detectives found more than £18,500 in cash – some contaminated with cocaine – and a Rolex along with other evidence.
Cash, a mobile phone, a Rolex watch worth more than £10,000 and an envelope with numbers and figures on were found at Thomas’s home.
Judge Ian Pearson, sentencing, described Timmins as a ‘prime mover’ in the conspiracy.
Timmins, of Eastern Road, Portsmouth, was sentenced to eight years and nine months in prison after admitting conspiracy to supply drugs and converting criminal property.
Thomas, of Firs Avenue, Windsor, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply drugs and was jailed for eight years.
Balderston was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison after admitting being concerned in the supply of a controlled drug.
Reynolds, of Kimbolton Road, Copnor Portsmouth, admitted permitting premises to be used for the supply of a class A drug and was jailed for 14 months.
Addressing the men, Judge Pearson said: ‘All of you took part to a greater or lesser extent in relation to the supply of cocaine within the Portsmouth area.
‘Some of you were involved for a lengthy period of time.
‘The total quantity of drugs involved were quite substantial, certainly involving tens of thousands of pounds.’
The drugs and paraphernalia are to be destroyed.
THE organised crime group foiled by Hampshire’s Major Investigation Team are said to have been ‘driven by their greed’.
The team worked closely with Portsmouth police, focusing on their activity between 2010 and 2012.
Det Supt Dick Pearson, who is in charge of HMIT, said: ‘They preyed on the vulnerability of people caught up in drug usage and were driven by their greed to make money from this crime.’
He added: ‘The clear message is that we continue to work with local police and partners to tackle organised criminality involved in drug supply.’