Eleven members of a drug ring in Gloucestershire were sentenced to 69 years in total for their illegal activities. Police are still searching for one member of the ring to give him a final verdict.
The ring is believed to be responsible for an outbreak in violence witnessed in 2017 where several people were seriously injured. The gang leader, 34-year-old Andrew Venna, his right-hand man, Mathew Cornwall, 34, and eight couriers and customers pleaded guilty to charges against them after overwhelming evidence was produced of their activities. Judge James Patrick sentenced the leader for 12 years, Mathew Cornwall, the next in line was sentenced for ten years.
A courier, Granit Nanushi, who delivered the drugs to Gloucestershire from London was sentenced for eight years. Another courier who was delivering the drugs on the day of the raid was punished with a three-year jail term.
Venna’s customers Leroy Slater from Wellington Street and Aaron Baker from Brindle were jailed for nine years and two months and seven years and three months respectively.
The judge also handed different jail terms to the street dealers in Stroud. Paul Reeves was jailed for four years, Daniel Payne was jailed for three years and six months, and James Dawkins was sentenced to 6 years and nine months in prison.
The other members, Ryan Reese and Edward Bell, were jailed for 21 months and three years respectively. Edward Bell was the drug tester who ensured the drugs were of good quality. Police are still hunting for Edward Bell.
The drug ring’s operations were ended after the Serious and Organised Crime Unit launched a secret operation dubbed Operaton Solero which carried out surveillance on Venna and his colleagues while they carried out their drug dealing activities.
Judge Patrick sentenced the men for dealing with a drug that causes ill health to society, extreme poverty, and violent crimes.