The ringleader of a violent drug trafficking gang has been jailed for ten years.
Aled Gray, who ran two pubs in Holyhead, was behind a multi-million pound racket which stretched across the North Wales Coast and over the border into north west England.
Around £2.7 million of drugs, including heroin, cocaine and cannabis, was seized in a year-long police operation. One detective said he had never so much productivity in his career tackling serious and organised crime.
Gray (35), pleaded guilty to conspiring to supply class A drugs. He was the last of 27 people convicted to be sentenced as part of Operation Zeus. Between them, they will serve a total of 182 years and eleven months in prison.
Police said Gray worked alongside another ringleader – Matthew Jones in Llandudno. Both men had been surrounded by a ”close knit, trusted” criminal gang.
Parts of the gangs had begun dealing as early as October 2015. They were said to have acted ”like a consortium” – taking their combined buying power to Merseyside and Greater Manchester, with supply networks based in Denbigshire, Conwy and Anglesey, assuring a large scale supply of class A drugs.
Finally, in November 2017, a series of dawn raids saw 28 people arrested in one of the biggest police operations of its kind for many years.
At Mold Crown Court, Gray’s defence said he accepted he played a leading role in the racket – but denied that he was the pre-eminent figure.
He was described as his family’s black sheep – his parents had died young and left him cash and a buisness – but rather than do something useful, ”he sniffed it up his nose”.
Detective Inspector Lee Boycott said: ”As the size and productivity of the groups began to unfold, it was clear this was going to be a protracted investigation.”
”The clear criminal case presented to the court led to an unprecedented unanimous clean sweep of guilty pleas across the entire 27 people who made up the gang.”
”I have worked in serious and organised crime for over 13 years and never seen such high drugs productivity. The combined forces the two groups created has resulted in the highest cumulative sentence ever seen in North Wales.”
”It is the aim of any drug dealer to operate in the shadows away from the glare of the police. Drugs supply causes misery and a corruption in our communities it will therefore always remain a priority for the police.”
”I am sure all of the defendants would have liked to hide their actions, but as the gangs were working long hours acquiring and supplying drugs so were the police, watching and listening to what was happening. This enabled the full picture to be laid before the court.”
Judge Nic Parry told Gray he had kept himself away from the ”dirty end” of the business, while running a sophisticated network from the Boston Arms and the Dublin Packet.
Gray, who has previous convictions, led a ‘criminal lifestyle’, though he was not being sentenced as a violent enforcer. But the gang as a whole conspired to control the supply of cocaine and heroin across North Wales.
Police warned anyone who profited from the crimes of Gray and the gangs would have the proceeds recouped in their assets.
Inspector Boycott added: ”Please understand if you choose to become embroiled in crimes such as these you can expect the same police attention and lengthy prison sentences.”
”If you’ve played any part in the management of the criminal gangs, we will also apply to the courts for orders after you’re sentenced to restrict your criminal lifestyle upon your release from prison.”