Two men from Bristol and South Gloucestershire who were part of an organised crime group have been jailed for moving more than £160,000 worth of Ketamine across the country.
James Marshall, 33, of Seymour Road in Staple Hill and Scott Ryan, 37, of Albany Street in Kingswood were part of a five-man group who were found to be using the EncroChat network to help move the drugs across the country.
Messages on the platform were obtained by police which showed the high-value deals were arranged over several months in 2020. The messages included discussions about multiple six-figure drug deals.
Marshall and Ryan pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply ketamine and possession with intent to supply the same class B drug. They also both admitted conspiracy to transfer criminal property.
Marshall was jailed for 6 years and nine months and Scott Ryan was jailed for four years.
Three other men have also been jailed. Daniel Newman, 34, of Brambletyne in Saltdean was jailed for seven-and-a-half years. Harrison Beesley, 34, of Kings Drive in Eastbourne, was sent to prison for eight years and eight months; and Ryan Caplin, 26, of Kingsway in Brighton was jailed for three years and four months.
Ryan also admitted three further offences, namely possession of an offensive weapon in a public place and two counts of possessing criminal property. Both were sentenced at Bristol Crown Court on Friday 25 November.
Surveillance work was carried out and evidence was obtained showing Ryan would drive across the country as part of the group’s efforts to transport drugs.
Ryan was stopped in his van and Marshall was arrested at a Bristol pub by Avon and Somerset Police officers.
The van was searched, and police seized several packages containing ketamine, with an estimated street value of £168,000. Mobile phones and approximately £6,000 in cash were also seized.
Detective Sergeant Jason Chidgey said: “We welcome the strong sentences handed out to these five men and hope it sends a loud message to anyone involved in the supply of illegal drugs.
“These results come off the back of a complex and lengthy investigation and show that police and other law-enforcement agencies are steadfast in their determination to bring down organised crime groups who cause misery in local communities”
“Crime doesn’t pay. It may be a well-used phrase, but it still holds true and these five men have learned that lesson the hard way with these prison sentences and the future confiscation of assets they tried to accrue through their criminality.
“We are grateful for the support of the Crown Prosecution Service and other agencies in bringing these men to justice.”
CPS Senior Crown Prosecutor Stella Waata said: “The CPS and a specialist police team worked closely together on this complex case to disrupt the illegal activities of a criminal network and secure convictions.
She added: “The group used an encrypted EncroChat messaging system to coordinate the supply of ketamine and cannabis between Bristol and Brighton.
"The investigation by Avon and Somerset Police was supported by the CPS South West Complex Casework Unit, and together we built a compelling case which resulted in all the defendants pleading guilty.
“The illegal trade in drugs blights communities across the South West.
"The CPS is committed to working with our partners in the police to dismantle organised criminal groups and bring them to justice.”