Eight drug dealers with links to a Nottinghamshire man who stands accused of being a major international drug trafficker have been jailed.
The men were all found guilty of possession of drugs and intent or conspiracy to supply and were arrested as part of an investigation into Robert Dawes, who was arrested in Spain last year and is originally from Sutton-in-Ashfield.
Spanish authorities have accused Dawes of leading “the biggest criminal organisation in Britain and Europe devoted to drug trafficking”.
He is currently in custody in France awaiting trial.
A National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation into the eight associates linked to him began when 1.3 tonnes of cocaine was found hidden in suitcases on a plane from Venezuela to Paris.
The NCA, working with international law enforcement agencies and Nottinghamshire Police, suspected the smuggling had been arranged by Dawes and began an investigation.
The eight men were all found guilty of drug offences at Nottingham Crown Court on Friday.
A number of individuals were arrested by the French authorities straight after the seizure, including a Nottingham man called Kane Price who was released on bail.
While working closely with the East Midlands Special Operations Unit and Nottinghamshire Police to target Dawes’ criminal associates, NCA officers observed Price, aged 28, receiving a kilo of MDMA on 11 June 2015 from Oliver Junior, aged 36, from Nottingham.
Junior, who in May 2015 had been seen handing a bag containing £2,000 cash to another criminal, was arrested on 26 June.
He collected two kilos of amphetamine from a house on Alderman Close in Beeston belonging to 51-year-old Mark Thone. Both men were arrested and officers found 26 and-a-half kilos of amphetamine in Thone’s freezer.
Officers also searched a garage belonging to Junior on Brooke Avenue, Arnold, and recovered an industrial pill press.
Officers also watched as more of Dawes’ criminal associates were involved in drug and cash exchanges.
Among those arrested were Shaun Porteous, aged 48, from Nottingham, who delivered a kilo of heroin to another Nottingham man, 33-year-old William Goldhawk, on 24 February 2015.
When Porteous was later arrested on 17 March, officers found 12 kilos of heroin in his car.
Officers also seized an additional 11 kilos of MDMA and £7,000 cash during the investigation.
The arrests came as a result of an overarching investigation into Robert Dawes, who was arrested at a villa on the Costa del Sol in November and extradited to France.
The Spanish Police said that by targeting the 44-year-old they had overall been able to seize 210kg of cocaine, 100kg of heroin and 5.7 tons of hashish.
Video: Spanish police issued footage of Dawes being arrested in November
Rob Hickinbottom, NCA Regional Commander for the Midlands, said: “Collaborative working with law enforcement agencies here and overseas led to the arrest of Robert Dawes who we believe is a major international drug trafficker.
“We have successfully targeted his criminal associates in the UK involved in drug trafficking and money laundering but our work does not stop here. Our investigation is ongoing and further arrests and prosecutions are planned.”
The eight men sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court on Friday were:
– William Jan Goldhawk, DoB 27/04/82, of Fairburn Close, Nottingham, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply heroin and money laundering. Sentenced on the 19 February to five and a half years.
– Jermaine Anton Hammond, DoB 31/8/85, from Nottingham, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply heroin. Sentenced on the 19 February to four years eight months.
– Shaun Anthony Porteous, DoB 2/2/68, of Lees Hill Street, Nottingham, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply heroin. Sentenced on the 19 February to 13 years four months.
– Jamie Rhys Parlor, DoB 26/12/87, of Ewe Lamb Lane, Bramcote, Nottingham, was found guilty of possession with intent to supply heroin after a three-day trial. Sentenced on the 19 February to five years.
– Oliver Junior, DoB 17/03/79, of Rolleston Drive, Nottingham, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply MDMA and possession with intent to supply amphetamine. Sentenced on the 5 February to eight and a half years.
– Mark Thone, DoB 2/6/64, of Alderman Close, Nottingham, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply amphetamine. Sentenced on the 5 February to three years.
– Kane Rees Price 3/3/87, of Reedham Walk, Nottingham, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply MDMA. Sentenced on the 5 February to three and a half years.
– Masued Khalil, DoB 19/12/65, of Oakdale Road, Birmingham, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply MDMA and possession of cannabis. Sentenced on the 5 February to five years four months.