Group jailed for 70 years for bringing cocaine and cannabis to Gloucester
A network of organised crime groups that conspired to sell thousands of pounds worth of cocaine and cannabis on the streets of Gloucester has been sentenced to a total of 70 years in prison today (Thursday, June 14).
The investigation, run by the South West Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU), saw nine people jailed and the seizure of £72,000 worth of cocaine, £55,000 worth of cannabis and £49,500 cash.
Bristol Crown Court heard how Stephen Gilby, 23, was running both conspiracies while remanded in custody at HMP Bristol for firearms offences.
He was sentenced to 11 years to serve on top of his current five-year sentence.
Led by Gilby, the cocaine conspiracy involved London man Ryan Lewis, 29, from Orpington, who was sentenced to 14 years for coordinating the supply of the drug to Gloucester-based Claire Heard, also 29, partner of Gilby. Heard would then move the drugs from her home in Salisbury Road to 31-year-old Mohammed Rymansaib’s flat in Wellington Parade.
Three other Gloucester-based men, working for Heard, would then store and distribute the drugs. Claude Bond, 23, from Falkner Street, Jason Bignall, 30, from Salisbury Road and Christian Butler, 36, from Stroud Road were all sentenced to seven years.
Heard was sentenced to eight years and Rymansaib to four years. All, except Lewis, were convicted of both conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis.
As well as bringing thousands of pounds worth of cocaine into Gloucester, Gilby also oversaw the supply of large quantities of cannabis from the West Midlands to the city, helped by Birmingham men Ghafar Mahmood, 31, from Sparkhill who was sentenced to eight years and eight months; Mohammed Shiraz, 37, from Fernley Road who received four years and 11 months; and Anthony Sillitoe, 44, from Willes Road who was sentenced to six months, suspended for 18 months, and 200 hours unpaid work.
Detective Inspector Paul Catton of the SW ROCU said: “A combined sentence of more than 70 years, plus the high value of drugs and cash seized, was the result of some excellent investigative work by the team.
“A key moment for them was carrying out a warrant at Rymansaib’s flat where he, Heard and Butler were found together with £53,000 worth of cannabis. Mahmood was pulled over nearby having left the flat and found with £12,000 cash.
“This came a month after a kilo of cocaine covered in Bignall’s fingerprints was seized from a car on the M4.
“Results like this reflect an enormous amount of hard work.”
Today’s sentences come just a couple of months after a SW ROCU investigation into another organised crime group supplying cocaine and cannabis into Gloucester received a combined sentence of 47 years in prison. Led by Marlan Douglas, the group were transporting the drugs from London to the city.
Officers from the SW ROCU’s Criminal Finance Team will now apply for a Confiscation Order to ensure any money the group has made from this case, or any other crime they have been convicted of in the past six years, is seized.
Anyone with information about people they believe to be dealing drugs should report their suspicions to the police online or on the non-emergency number 101.
Or, to give information anonymously, call independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or through their website, www.crimestoppers-uk.org They never ask for your name and cannot trace your call.