Wrexham Class A drug gang members jailed

SEVERAL members of a Wrexham drug gang have been jailed.

Operation Blue Kyanite was a police investigation into the supply of Class A drugs in Wrexham and the wider North Wales area.

Seven of the gang members appeared in Mold Crown Court on Thursday to be convicted of conspiracy to supply heroin and conspiracy to supply cocaine.

Simon Rogers, prosecuting, informed the court of numerous records obtained which showed the movements of the gang during the year of the conspiracy (March 2020 to March 2021).

During this period, the “lucrative business” facilitated the large-scale supply of cocaine and heroin, involving several kilograms of the substance.

READ MORE: Op Lancelot – Watch the police take down the Caia Park drug gang

He saw the drugs sourced from a Merseyside supplier and brought to Wrexham, where the leader of the organized crime group was based.

A number of trusted “couriers” were used to move drugs and money, with the gang using encrypted conversations, young children and cheap prepaid telephone handsets to avoid detection and deflect suspicion.

Speaking of the criminal enterprise in general, Judge Niclas Parry said it could “only be described as sophisticated and well organized”.

He added: “The harm that has been done to the community is incalculable.”

Thomas Wright. Image: North Wales Police

Thomas Wright, of Fairfield Avenue in Roby, had close ties to the original source of the drugs and was the ‘upstream supplier’ based in Merseyside.

Julian Nutter, who is defending Wright, 45, said his client was threatened and coerced into working for other more sophisticated criminals.

He said: “He was, until his involvement in this, someone who had a respectable profession as a carpenter.

“He was working in a house in Liverpool and he saw a large sum of money. He didn’t do anything about it – he continued his work.

“But he was accused of stealing money and that’s how he got dragged into it.”

Judge Niclas Parry sentenced him to 10 years and eight months.

The judge said, “You were one of the two most serious conspirators.

“Quite simply, you were the supplier for kilos of the goods in North East Wales and there were times when you traveled around to do the collections and deliveries yourself.”

The leader: Kevin Roberts.  Image: North Wales PoliceKevin Roberts. Image: North Wales Police

Kevin Roberts, 43, from Plas Gwyn in Wrexham, attempted to dispose of nearly 1kg of heroin when a vehicle he was traveling in was stopped by police.

He jumped out of the van and ran officers through private gardens carrying a bag.

Roberts disappeared but when they retraced their steps, police found a carrier bag that appeared out of place and was recognized as the one Roberts was carrying.

READ MORE: Conviction of the Caia Park drug gang is complete

Another gang member’s DNA was recovered from its contents.

John Wyn Williams, defending Roberts, said: “He has worked his whole life and has the support of his family.

“He admits that drugs destroy people’s lives and he took his eyes off the ball, as he puts it, and let things slide.”

Judge Parry imprisoned him for seven years and two months.

The leader: Robert Reid.  Image: North Wales PoliceRobert Reid. Image: North Wales Police

Next to be convicted was Robert Reid, 37, of St Davids Crescent in Wrexham.

Myles Wilson, defending Reid, said: “His involvement lasted only one day – a courier, which he was convicted of.

“He can neither read nor write and is not involved in the drug scene.

“He can properly be described as being in a lesser role.”

But Judge Parry said Reid had been “foolish” in having a trial for the offences.

He added: “You would have known you were bringing a significant sum of money to Liverpool and you were trusted to meet the supplier upfront.

“Your defense of saying that you just took a packet without inquiring about its contents was rejected by the jury as nonsense.”

Reid was imprisoned for six and a half years.

The leader: Mehmet Karadas.  Image: North Wales PoliceMehmet Karadas. Image: North Wales Police

Mehmet Karadas, 48, of Kingstown in Wrexham, allowed conspirators to use his legitimate business as a taxi driver as cover.

There was significant contact between him and other gang members, the court heard, and on one occasion he drove two of them to Liverpool.

Oliver King, defending Karadas, said there was no evidence his client made any significant financial gain.

“There wasn’t a high degree of trust,” he said.

“He wasn’t even left alone with any of the packages and he wasn’t in on the plot from start to finish.”

He would have known what he was doing and he would have been well rewarded for it, Judge Parry told the defendant, jailing him for six and a half years.

The Chef: Julie Prile.  Image: North Wales PoliceJulie Prile. Image: North Wales Police

Julie Prile, 45, of Coed Efa in New Broughton, was in close contact with the main conspirators, the court heard.

She ‘knew very well’ what she was involved in, the judge told her – making repeated trips from Wrexham to Liverpool.

Defending Prile, Debra White said: “It’s fair to say that she served a limited function under direction.

“She was asked to go to various places by people much higher in the chain than her.”

Judge Parry imprisoned Prile for five years.

The leader: Cial Prandle.  Image: North Wales PoliceCial Prandle. Image: North Wales Police

Cial Prandle, 29, of Overton Way in Acton Park, was caught with a bag containing almost £30,000 after leaving the home of a co-conspirator.

Andrew Green, defending Prandle, said his client’s involvement had been an act of “stupidity”.

“He left school and joined the army,” he said.

“He is a hard worker and a dedicated, caring father.”

Prandle was imprisoned for six and a half years.

The chef: Jamie Wright.  Image: North Wales PoliceJamie Wright. Image: North Wales Police

Courier Jamie Wright, 23, of Hampden Way in Acrefair, had a one-off involvement in the plot, the judge admitted, and was “modestly paid”.

But he knew what he was doing, the court heard.

Simon Mintz, defender, said: “Reality caught up with this young man today.

“He was 22 at the time of his involvement in this plot and was of good character.”

Wright was imprisoned for four and a half years.

Other members of the group are to be sentenced at a later date.

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