The head of a huge drug gang which flooded a town with cocaine and heroin told his family he loved them while being jailed for 10 years.
Levi Roberts, 28, was part of a 11-strong gang who were jailed for a total of 76 years for their involvement in the drugs enterprise that brought misery to the Wrexham’s streets. In a conspiracy valued in excess of £2million, trusted ‘couriers’ were used to transport drugs that were shipped in from Merseyside, the court previously heard.
Earlier this month, seven gang members were jailed for the parts they played in the plot to bring crack cocaine and heroin into Wrexham. Today (Wednesday, May 25) a further four gang members were sentenced at Mold Crown Court, NorthWalesOnline reports.
One of those facing Judge Niclas Parry was Roberts, of Royden Gardens, Wrexham, who was labelled as the head of the gang. The court heard how he was responsible for causing “incalculable harm” over the course of the year-long operation.
Defending Roberts, Phil Tully, told the court he accepted a lengthy spell of custody awaited him. Although he was, effectively, the local gang’s head he wasn’t the top of the chain – and therefore would also “get his hands dirty”, the court heard.
He played a “hands-on role” as a street dealer, but would also prepare drugs for sale and made trips to and from Liverpool. The dad-of-five continued with his commercial-scale enterprise, even after the police were “onto” him, proving just how irresistible the “profitable” venture was.
He stood up and told his family he loved them after he was jailed for ten years. The court heard members of Roberts’ family were more than willing to help with the enterprise. Two of his uncles formed part of the gang , playing “significant” roles, prosecutor Ember Wong said.
Craig Roberts, 40, “did not stop and think” much during his time with the conspiracy, the court heard. In his limited time with the gang, he handled both cash and drugs.
As he was jailed for five years, Judge Parry said he was caught with his co-accused brother Kevin Roberts, who was jailed previously, when the police intercepted nearly £100k worth of heroin that they were delivering. He had also met one of the Liverpool-based conspirators to hand off bundles of cash.
However, his solicitor Mark Connor said his client is “far from being a career criminal”. Roberts, who cannot read or write, carried out “favours” with the primary motivation to “help his family out” and was not getting any direct “financial rewards”.
The court also heard how 51-year-old Paul Wilbraham made three trips, at least, to Liverpool during his six-week involvement in the conspiracy. Defending him, Nicholas Williams said that the dad-of-three had no previous run-ins with the law and was essentially a “good and honest family man” before getting wrapped up in this world.
Mr Williams also told the court how “totally innocent” people will suffer once he is jailed. His partner finds herself in a position where she cannot keep the family home without the financial support of his carpentry business, the court heard.
Judge Parry said Wilbraham had an “operational function” in the plot and that he was trusted by the gang leader to act as a courier. Having been convicted after a trial, the judge put forward a sentence of six and a half years.
Another “family man” that became embroiled in the scheme was Hadyn Griffiths. The legitimate taxi driver was jailed for eight and a half years after being in on the plot from the very beginning, the court heard.
The 61-year-old dad was trusted to drive to and from Liverpool as well as around Wrexham for many months. The judge said Griffiths had links at “both ends of this damaging business” – referring to Thomas Wright, the gang’s upstream dealer in Merseyside.
North Wales Police also confirmed that a brief hearing took place regarding Kevin Roberts between the sentencings. His jail term of seven years and two months was reduced to six years and four months.
The other gang members jailed at a hearing earlier this month included Thomas Wright, of Fairfield Avenue in Liverpool, who was branded the “upstream supplier” and was jailed for 10 years. Julie Prile, of Coed Efa in New Broughton, was responsible for ferrying shipments of cash and was jailed for five years.
Mehmet Ali Karadas, of Kingstown in Wrexham, was a courier and got six years and six months behind bars. Robert Reid also transported cash, and was jailed for six and a half years.
Cial Prandle, of Overton Way in Acton Park, worked for the gang as a courier and was jailed for six years and six months. Jamie Wright, 23, of Hampden Way in Acrefair, was jailed for four years and six months after making one exchange for the gang.