A WYEDEAN drugs gang has been sentenced to more than 30 years in jail, while the ongoing hunt for the gang’s suspected kingpin has stretched as far as Colombia and Venezuela.
The conspiracy involved trafficking cocaine, amphetamine, ketamine and cannabis and flooding the streets of Monmouthshire, the Forest of Dean and Newport.
The court heard that the crime gang is suspected to have been headed by Paul Harris, 26, from Cinderford, son of defendant Helga Boehm and stepson of co-defendant Alan Harris, who both received jail terms.
Gwent Police appealed for help in tracking Paul Harris down in 2022, saying at the time: “We’re appealing for information to find Paul Harris from Cinderford.
“Our officers would like to speak to the 25-year-old, who is also known as Paul Bohm, in connection with an investigation into drug trafficking offences.
“He has links to the Chepstow and Magor areas and also Gloucester.”
Cardiff Crown Court was told that Harris was suspected of smuggling drugs into the UK from Spain, and was now thought to be on the run in South America after fleeing the country.
Clare Wilks, prosecuting, said his friend and co-conspirator Matthew Nicholas had travelled to Spain to meet Harris, while the latter’s mother and stepfather were also involved in the gang’s operations between September 15, 2020 and January 1, 2022.
Nicholas, aged 35, of Waltwood Park Drive, Llanmartin, Newport was imprisoned for eight years and two months at the senetncing hearing last week;
Ashley Bollen, aged 33, of Dewstow Road, Caldicot was jailed for eight years one month;
Peter Wright, aged 32, of Channel View, Bulwark, Chepstow, was jailed for five years and one month;
Andrew Harris, aged 48, of High Street, Cinderford, was jailed for five years and seven months.
Helga Boehm, aged 47, of High Street, Cinderford, was jailed for four years and 10 months.
Lucy Hart, aged 27, of Channel View, Bulwark, Chepstow, was jailed for 24 months, suspended for 24 months, with an order to do 300 hours of unpaid work.
Charlie Linstead, aged 28, of Alice Crescent, Thornwell, Chepstow, was jailed for 22 months suspended for 24 months with 120 hours of unpaid work.
Duncan Peters, aged 50, of Saxon Place, Sedbury, Chepstow, was jailed for 24 months, suspended for 24 months, and ordered to observe a three-month electronic curfew from 8pm to 8am.
A Gwent Police spokesperson said after the sentencing: “Between February and October 2021, we carried out enforcement activities throughout the south of Monmouthshire which led to the seizure of drugs, cash and mobile phones. “The phones seized not only showed their owners’ significant involvement in the supply of drugs, it also showed all those who worked with them.
“Over the two-year long investigation, we carried out eight warrants and more than £50,000 worth of class A and B drugs were seized, along with over £40,000 of cash. In one warrant alone, £38,000 was found in a money safe disguised as a book.”
Detective Chief Inspector Steven Thomas said:"We have successfully dismantled a major drugs gang who are now behind bars for their parts in peddling misery across South Wales and Gloucestershire.
“These men and women were not simply dealing drugs to feed their own addiction, they had made the decision to become involved in the supply of large quantities of harmful drugs to make money for themselves at the expense of others.
“We are committed to creating a hostile environment for serious and organised crime in Gwent. Illegal drugs have no place in society - they cause harm to those that become addicted to them and to their families, friends and the wider communities.
“These sentences send a strong reminder to those involved in drug supply in and around the Gwent area that we will leave no stone unturned when it comes to targeting those who involve themselves in these illegal activities."
Gwent Police are encouraging members of the public to be their eyes and ears in disrupting serious organised crime.
They say that something doesn’t feel right, it might not be. Don’t wait, report it.
If you or someone else is in immediate danger or it feels a situation could escalate call 999.
For general information you can call 101, or direct message us on social media.
Anyone with any information about the whereabouts of Paul Harris is meanwhile urged to contact Gwent Police quoting 2200245204.