Drugs gang members sentenced

Drugs gang members sentenced

Lucy Elder

A total of 18 people involved in a drugs gang have been sentenced.

The latest of the defendants were sentenced at Reading Crown Court (RCC) last week following a number of operations under Operation Saffron by Thames Valley Police.

The police's aim was to disrupt the 'Ace Crew', an organised crime group known for selling crack cocaine and heroin in the Oxford Road area of Reading.

The operation began in February 2013 and in October 8, 170 police officers executed 22 warrants at addresses in Reading.

They arrested and subsequently charged 17 suspects, who all pleaded guilty.

Earlier this month Abdul Khan, 28, formerly of Eskin Close, Tilehurst, was sentenced to 12-and-a-half years in prison for conspiring to supply a class A drug (heroin). He was charged after 2kg of heroin was found at an address in Reading. He pleaded guilty at RCC on January 14.

He was linked to 25 known drug deals during the operation and was identified as a professional drug dealer.

Waheed Khan, 21, from Parkside Rd, Reading, pleaded guilty on January 14 to conspiracy supply class A drugs (cocaine) and was sentenced to six years in prison on April 23 at RCC.

Harry Carmichael, 24, formerly of Auckland Rd, Reading, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs (crack cocaine) and was sentenced to 11 years on March 31.

Adeel Tahir, 31, of Westbrook Road, Reading, appeared at RCC on February 21 and was sentenced to five years for possession of a firearm – a sawn off shotgun . He pleaded guilty at RCC on January 24. He was also sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice. Both sentences were to run consecutively.

Detective Inspector Bruce Riddell, leading the operation, said: “The sentences handed down to these people have been the result of coordinated work by a large number of officers across the Thames Valley area.

"As a result of the operation, resulting intelligence suggests the “Ace Crew” is no longer the force it once was."

Others sentenced in connection with Operation Saffron include:

  • Babar Malik, 30, of Coalport Way, Reading, pleaded guilty at RCC on December 20 to conspiring with another to supply cocaine, conspiring with another to supply heroin, and two counts of possessing criminal property namely money to the sum of £2,350 knowing it represented proceeds of criminal conduct. He was sentenced at the same court to nine years in prison on January 10.
  • Rameez Afzal, 22, of Catherine Street, Reading, was identified as a ‘street dealer’ who was selling deals of heroin and crack cocaine. Afzal pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six years in prison.
  • Jonathan Cherry, 31, of Mason Street, Reading, received a two year suspended sentence on January 31 after pleading guilty to supplying cocaine and heroin on March 11 and 13, 2013.
  • Stacey Best, 35, of Southampton Street, Reading, received a two year suspended sentence on January 31, after pleading guilty to supplying crack cocaine and heroin.
  • Byron Morgan, 48, of Linden Road, Reading pleaded guilty to supply drugs on and sentenced to 30 months in prison.
  • Stephen Browne, 36, currently at HMP Bullingdon, pleaded guilty to supply drugs and sentenced to 30 months in prison at RCC on November 6.
  • Mark Jones, 38, of Willow Street, Reading pleaded guilty to supply drugs and sentenced to 40 months in prison at RCC on November 5.
  • Gavin Mackie, 22, of Severn Way, Tilehurst, Reading pleaded guilty to supply drugs on April 19 and sentenced to 32 months in prison at RCC on November 25.
  • Matthew Brodie, 29, of Willow Street, Reading pleaded guilty to supply drugs on May 1, 2013 and was sentenced to 40 months in prison at RCC on November 25.
  • Jacob Thomas, 21, of Cumberland Rd, Reading, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply drugs on May 28 and received a two year suspended sentence.
  • Daniel Jacobs, 19, of Dee Road, Reading, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply drugs on May 28 and received a two year suspended sentence.
  • Daniel Holt, 30, from Stanshawe Road, Reading pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of a class A drug and received a 15 month suspended sentence.
  • Donovan Gilbert-Smith, 18, of no fixed abode pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of a class A drug and was sentenced to 21 months in prison.
  • Oswald Walker, 25, The Crescent , Theale, was found guilty of being concerned in the supply of a class A drug and was given a two year suspended sentence.
  • Waqas Tahir, 26, of Greencroft Gardens, Reading, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice by arranging for an associate to offer a false excuse for the presence of DNA on a sawn off shotgun. He was sentenced to five years in prison at RCC on April 23.

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