A DRUGS gang that operated across Dorset has been jailed for a total of almost 36 years – but two of the convicted men have gone on the run.
The five men, who conspired to sell nearly £200,000 worth of cocaine, were handed hefty jail terms following a trial.
They included Stewart Davidson, aged 29, from Weymouth, and Ashley Smith, aged 29, of Challacombe Street, Poundbury – one of the addresses at the centre of the drugs operation which was raided by police.
The court heard the conspiracy involved preparing cocaine of high purity at the property in Challacombe Street and at an address in Wayman Road, Corfe Mullen.
The others convicted were Scott Woods, aged 25, of West Road, West Lulworth; Guy Anning, aged 22, of Wayman Road, Corfe Mullen; and Dean McLeod, aged 33, of Damwood Road, Speke, Liverpool.
Only Woods, the ringleader, was involved in the operation at both addresses and thus charged with two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs. He was jailed for 12 years.
Anning was given seven years – with one year concurrent for cultivating cannabis – McLeod six and Davidson six, while Smith, the only defendant to plead guilty, was handed four years and nine months.
A sixth defendant, 27-year-old James Cosser of Bournemouth, will be sentenced on July 24.
Woods and McLeod absconded during the trial and are now being hunted by police.
The convictions followed a major investigation by Dorset Police’s Major Crime Team under the banner of Operation Ace which saw arrests made in October and November 2012. The probe unveiled a ‘comprehensive conspiracy’ to supply drugs across the county, police said.
After the case, senior investigating officer Craig Travers said the men were motivated by “cynical greed”.
“These individuals chose to live a certain lifestyle and turned to criminality to fund it rather than earning money legitimately,” he said. “They showed no regard to the ill effects caused by supplying these drugs to the communities of Dorset.”
Earlier this month a further man – Christian Hill, 29, of Wimborne – was given a suspended sentence of eight months imprisonment for cultivation of cannabis.
Police hunt two on run
TWO of the drugs gang are being hunted by police after going on the run during the trial.
Scott Woods, 25, from West Lulworth, and Dean McLeod, 33, from Liverpool, were convicted in their absence following the trial at Bournemouth Crown Court.
Senior investigating officer Craig Travers, of Dorset Police said: “These men are on the run and are evading justice.
“I am keen speak with anyone who has information of their whereabouts and can help track them down.
“They have been convicted of drug dealing which causes so much misery to so many and Dorset Police is committed to finding them.
“All calls are treated with the strictest confidence.”
Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Scott Woods and Dean McLeod should call 101 or call 999 with any current sightings. Alternatively call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.