TWO men from Redditch were part of a drugs-dealing network of 17 people which has been sentenced to more than 130 years in prison for their involvement in the trafficking of class A and B drugs throughout the UK.
Kristoffer BellKristoffer Bell, 34, of Spetchley Close, Redditch and Michael Ward, 35, of Fulbrook Close, Redditch, were netted as part of Operation Weld began in April 2014, which involved a covert phase where detectives from the Serious and Organised Crime Unit at West Mercia Police collected evidence against criminals from Worcestershire and the West Midlands involved in the trafficking of cocaine.
Enquiries soon identified that the group had links to other parts of the UK including Humberside, Greater Manchester and London.
In the following months, working closely with officers from other forces, seizures of cocaine, heroin and cannabis worth more than £1 million and more than £175,000 in cash were made in Humberside, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands. A total of 22 people were charged and 17 people have now been sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court.
Locally, 10 people from the Birmingham area pleaded or have been found guilty, including Bell and Ward.
Bell, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs and was sentenced to 14 years in prison. At the time of the conspiracy Kristoffer Bell was also serving a prison sentence at HMP Sudbury. He flaunted the money illegally gained, by hiring expensive cars and driving around Redditch displaying his wealth, when on day release from prison.
Ward pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supplying a class A drug and was sentenced to 20 months in prison. Ward admitted acting as a courier for the group.