Two men from Bishops Tachbrook who were part of an organised crime group based in Warwickshire and Spain have been jailed for importing tonnes of illegal drugs into the UK.
Terry Conlon, 39, of Banbury Road, was sentenced to eight years and six months imprisonment, while Bryn Clinton, 45, also of Banbury Road, was sentenced to five years and four months. Both had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import cannabis and conspiracy to supply cannabis.
The two men were sentenced alongside five others at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday (January 17), as part of a six-year investigation thought to be Warwickshire Police’s largest and longest ever.
The investigation was centred on the criminal activities of Conlon, who in July 2007 was living in a luxury barn conversion in Copston Magna, near Wolvey in Warwickshire, and Troy Stanton, who was living in a villa in the Alicante area of Spain.
Conlon, who has also lived in Hatton, was identified as the head of an organised crime group and Stanton as his partner. Conlon controlled the importation of drugs into the UK, while Stanton was responsible for the crime group’s operations in Spain.
Following several seizures of cannabis resin linked to the group, evidence of cocaine trafficking and importation into the UK by associates of Conlon and Stanton was uncovered.
Intelligence then enabled the Serious Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) to prove that the men sentenced on Friday were linked to the original drug seizures. The seven men were arrested in July last year.
While Conlon and Stanton pleaded guilty to all charges against them, while other defendants pleaded guilty to some and not guilty to others, so they went trial.
Five others were jailed on Friday, while Stanton and another gang member will be sentenced on January 30. Two others have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentence, while one man was found not guilt and the jury were unable to reach a verdict on another, against whom charges were dropped.
Speaking on Friday, Detective Chief Inspector Ally Wright, head of Warwickshire Police’s SOCU, said: “Today has been a good day for justice. This has been one of the longest and the largest ever proactive investigation ever undertaken by Warwickshire Police and we are pleased we have steadily dismantled a high-level organised crime group.
“The criminal enterprise headed by Conlon was a multi-million pound business: those involved had amassed the trappings of wealth – for example high-value cars and expensive properties in England and Spain – and yet none of them had a job or paid any tax.
“They were alive to police tactics which meant they were disciplined and determined in their pursuit to make money and avoid detection.
“This did not deter us and the use of the intelligence supplied by the Spanish authorities has been central to this prosecution.”