By Rafi Mauro-Benady
Four men have been jailed for their part in an organised crime gang run by a ringleader who modelled himself on fictional gangster Tony Soprano.
In total, 21 people stood in the Woolwich Crown Court dock on Thursday, December 10 for their parts in the syndicate, and were slapped with a total of 138 years behind bars.
Allen Patrick, 45, of Acorn Gardens, Upper Norwood, was sentenced to six years for supplying cocaine, and possession of criminal property.
Cocaine dealer Anthony Pitts, 58, of Cambridge Drive, Lewisham, will spend 13 years and six months in prison for possession with intent to supply.
Liam Myrant, 33, of Douglas Square, Morden, Surrey was handed six years, also for supplying cocaine.
Corey Gooding, 51, of Oakdene Avenue, Chislehurst, Kent, was also sent down for possession with intent to supply cocaine. He was given six years.
Gang leader Matthew Harrod, 47 of Kingsway, Hove, East Sussex, was jailed for 22 year after being found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine, amphetamine and cannabis on November 11.
He had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to breaching his Serious Crime Prevention Order.
He was accused of the supply of commercial quantities of high purity cocaine, amphetamine and cannabis throughout the conspiracy period between July 2018 and January 2020.
Paul Clarke, 45 of Horns Lodge Lane, Tonbridge, Kent was sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine, amphetamine, cannabis and possession of criminal property worth £20,000.
It was said that Clarke acted as Harrod’s lieutenant, and dished out orders to those lower down the pecking order.
He is also said to have organised the supply of commercial quantities of high purity cocaine, amphetamine and cannabis during the 15-month period.
John O’Brien, 69, of Bean Road, Greenhithe, will serve 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine, amphetamine and cannabis.
Prosecutors said that O’Brien was just below Clarke in the chain of command.
Lee Butler, 52, of Clement Hill Road, Hastings, East Sussex, was sentenced to three years and nine months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply amphetamine.
Pensioner Tina Hughes, 75, of Clement Hill Road, Hastings, East Sussex, was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for two years, after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply amphetamine. She must wear an electronic tag and abide by a curfew.
Butler was accused of being a trusted courier who was involved in the storage of amphetamine within the gang.
He was organised by Clarke and O’Brien, having been given the seal of approval by Harrod. He was only involved for four months, from August 2019 until arrest on January 20, 2020.
He was provided with a van by O’Brien that had been adapted to create a secret hide. He made deliveries with Hughes.
Police found 42kgs of amphetamine. Eight other co-conspirators have already been sentenced, most of them for supplying drugs.
Robert Preston, 60, of Chalk Lane, Harlow, Essex was sentenced in February last year to five years and three months.
Anthony Dann, 50, of Middleton Hall Lane, Brentwood, Essex, was given four years and six months for possession with intent to supply cannabis, and failure to disclose a PIN code for a device.
Brian Iwanicki, 44, of Ashbourne Road, Essex, was handed the same sentence as Dann, for exactly the same charges.
Stephen Hopton, 44, of Coghurst Hall, Hastings, East Sussex, was sentenced to eight years and six months’ imprisonment for possession with intent to supply cocaine and possession of criminal property.
Lorenc Corbja, 28, was also sent down for possession with intent to supply cocaine. He will spend three years and six months in prison.
Steven Attwood, 56, of Berwick Way, Sevenoaks, Kent, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply amphetamine and cannabis and to possession of a bladed article and ammonia. He was given seven years’ imprisonment.
Finally, 36-year-old Thomas Sowerby, of Chalton Street, Camden, was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment for possession of criminal property. He was also wanted on recall to prison.
Nicholas Kakoulli, 25, of Matchless Drive, Woolwich, will be sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court on January 7. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis and being in possession of a bladed article.
Detective Superintendent Neil Ballard said: “I really hope this result shows the dedication of the Metropolitan Police and our law enforcement partners to tackle the supply and sale of lethal drugs in London and the UK, which we know is closely linked to violence in our communities.”
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