Drugs gang jailed following police operation seizing more than £1m of cocaine

L-R: Aaron Jefferies, Aaron Rafique, Connor Forrester, Robbie Shore Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

Four men have been handed jail sentences for their roles in supplying "huge amounts" of cocaine across the West Country.

Following an investigation by the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU), the organised gang were handed prison terms of more than 22 years combined for supplying cocaine on a "commercial scale" in Wiltshire and across the South West.

Aaron Jefferies, 31, of Allington Drive, Bristol, was the ringleader, according to police. He was convicted on 24 November following a four-week trial at Bristol Crown Court.

He was handed a total of 11 years for conspiracy to supply cocaine, possession with intent to supply cocaine and conspiracy to produce cannabis.

Jefferies was arrested in November 2019 after officers searched his Jaguar and found packaging from at least 38 separate 1kg blocks of cocaine, which, police say, had a wholesale value of £1.1million. 

Seized packaging that wrapped £1.1million of cocaine Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

Police also found a plastic bag containing 188g of cocaine (worth £14,000), a green rucksack with 9.5g of cocaine inside, eight sandwich bags each containing 1oz of cannabis, in his car.

They also seized an imitation firearm, a truncheon, a small lock knife, and a sports bag with three sets of scales and three knives.

Aaron Rafique, age 30, of Milner Gardens, Bristol, and Robbie Shore, age 25, of Williams Close, Melksham were also sentenced for conspiracy to supply cocaine.

They were both also found guilty of conspiracy to produce cannabis after a cannabis grow was found at a flat in Stokes Croft, Bristol.

Connor Forrester, age 25 and of Meadow Road, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine in August 2020. Following a search of his home in Melksham, police found £14,000 worth of cocaine, four mobile phones and scales.

Rafique was sentenced to five years and five months, Shore to six-and-a-half-years, and Forrester received a suspended two-year sentence and 300 hours community service.

Detective Inspector Charlotte Tucker from the SW ROCU said: “This group was organising the supply of cocaine on a commercial scale in Wiltshire and beyond. 

"Aaron Jefferies was top of their group, but we all know the harm going on further down the chain. It’s purely about money for them, but for others it’s exploitation, fear, violence and crime-funded drug use.

“We will now continue to work with the CPS to ensure it’s not just their freedom that has been taken away, but also the luxury assets their crime has funded," she added.

Ann Hampshire from the South West Complex Casework Unit, said the men "sought to profit from the misery that illegal drugs bring" to communities in the region.

The wife of Aaron Jefferies, Lauren Jefferies, 28, is due to be sentenced today (26 November) after being found guilty of perverting the course of justice for attempting to get evidence removed during a police search.