NINE more members of a wide-ranging drugs conspiracy that traded in narcotics worth about £2.7 million on the North Wales coast have received prison sentences totalling just over 50 years.

The eight men and one woman were the latest to be jailed at Mold Crown Court as part of the convictions arising from a police investigation codenamed Operation Zeus which brought to book two criminal gangs responsible for dealing cocaine and heroin across the region.

They were responsible for importing large quantities of class A drugs which were sourced in Liverpool and Manchester and delivered by couriers and distributed by a precise chain of command.

Ten men received custodial sentences totalling nearly 90 years on Tuesday and a further eight are due to appear before Judge Niclas Parry on Thursday.

Drug lords Aled Gray, who was head of the western arm of the drug conspiracy, is to be sentenced on January 18.

Matthew Jones, who ran the operations in the Llandudno area, was jailed for 12 years.

David Cuffin ran the Holyhead safe house where the drugs were stored and adulterated with the cutting agent benzocain to make them ready for sale. It was described as an 'Aladdin’s Cave' for drugs and drug paraphernalia when it was raided by police in December last year.

An engineering press used to compress cocaine powder was found at Cuffin’s address as well as an industrial quantity of benzocaine with a street value of more than £691,000.

It was one of five seizures by police – another was at the Boston Arms, the Holyhead pub run by Gray – which uncovered 1.88kg of cocaine some with a purity as high as 90 per cent.

Eric Rowlands was a trusted courier who used his job as a taxi driver with a Holyhead firm as cover to collect and bring the drugs back into North Wales.

He was familiar with counter surveillance techniques and broke his journeys to the North West to make sure he wasn’t being followed.

Andrew Aldred and Gareth Hastie were couriers that ensured the smooth flow of the trade continued while James Hendry, like Cuffin, was a warehouseman whose Llandudno Junction home was used as a depot to store and prepare the drugs for distribution.

Thomas Middleton got involved with the crime consortium in its final months and was street dealing MDMA tablets.

Addict Nathan Jeavons was drawn back into the world of drugs after leaving prison and while still on licence he became embroiled in supplying.

Partners in crime Christopher Bennett and Hayley Evans formed their own cottage industry dealing in cocaine after the main crime network had been broken up by seizures and arrests.

David Cuffin, Eric Rowlands, Thomas Middleton, Gareth Hastie, James Hendry, Andrew Aldred, Christopher Bennett, Nathan Jeavons and Hayley Evans all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine.

Cuffin and Rowlands also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin with intent to supply. Evans and Bennett also admitted another count of conspiracy to supply cocaine with intent to supply.

Hastie also pleaded guilty to the production of cannabis and Middleton also admitted conspiracy to supply heroin and possession of MDMA with intent to supply.

Owen Edwards said Cuffin was addicted to drugs as a result of suffering from migraines.

The court was told Middleton had been influenced by peer pressure and had “fallen in with the wrong crowd” after leaving the army, while Rowlands, it was said, had shown remorse.

Hendry had already completed a restorative justice course while on remand and Hastie’s “best mitigation” was his guilty plea.

Aldred’s involvement had only amounted to a day’s work on which he was paid £300 to collect drugs from Manchester, taking his mother along to drive as he was disqualified.

“He was something of a last resort and he was paid a modest amount,” said his barrister Elen Owen who stressed his arrest at the airport with a one-way ticket to Tenerife was not an attempt to flee justice but “a chance for a last-minute break in the sun before the inevitability of being sentenced”.

Ms Owen said Jeavons had got involved for “five months” late on and added: “He supplied to fund his own habit.”

Bennett, the court was told, was “glad that he was caught” as he wanted to start a new life.

Matthew Curtis called for leniency for Evans who is the mother of young children and said: “She pleaded guilty straight away and the reality is difficult for her and her children. She is a young woman with no experience of custody.”

Judge Niclas Parry told Evans that her three-year sentence was a “significant reduction” made because of her circumstances, but he noted: “You and Mr Bennett were partners in crime. You carried on with your own enterprise and didn’t stop when you should have stopped.”

The nine received sentences ranging from Evans’ three years up to six years nine months for Cuffin, who the judge told: “You provided the safe house that became more and more important as deliveries were made.

"Drugs worth between £36,000 and £54,000 were found along with a press. You played a significant role.”

Drugs gang members sentenced together were:

  • David Cuffin, 42, of Ponthwfa Terrace, Holyhead, who received six years nine months.
  • Eric Rowlands, 48, of Tara Street, Holyhead – five years four months.
  • Thomas Middleton, 23, of Beach Close, Holyhead – six years six months.
  • Gareth Hastie, 37, of Abergele Road, Colwyn Bay – five years four months.
  • James Hendry, 42, of Longoed, Llandudno Junction – five years four months.
  • Andrew Aldred, 30, of Hawarden Road, Colwyn Bay – five years four months.
  • Christopher Bennett, 35, of Beech Mount, Colwyn Bay – six years four months.
  • Nathan Jeavons, 25, of Cwrt Elin, Erw Wen Road, Colwyn Bay – six years four months.
  • Hayley Evans, 29, of Ffordd Y Maer, Mochdre, Colwyn Bay – three years.