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Registered: 07/26/04
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Drug gang jailed for 47 years [UK]
    #4470866 - 07/29/05 08:49 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)

Gang leader gets 17 years for dealing
July 29, 2005 - icnetwork.co.uk

A DRUGS gang who smuggled millions of pounds of cocaine into Britain inside hollowed-out pianos have been jailed for a total of 47 years.

Ringleaders Gary Vian, 44, of Crest Road, South Croydon, and James Ward, from Ruckinge, in Kent, were found guilty at the Old Bailey on Tuesday of conspiracy to supply the class A drug.

The pair and their henchmen brought in huge quantities of the drug inside chairs, bookcases and pianos made with secret hollow compartments.

They were caught after police bugged their "safe" house in Battersea early last year and recorded Ward discussing his plans.

On Wednesday Ward was sentenced to 17 years in jail and Vian to 14. Two other men, Roy Webber, 42, from Basingstoke, and Paul Martin, 51, from Bermondsey, were also jailed after admitting their roles in the plot. All four men now face having their assets seized by police.

At an earlier hearing, Vian and Ward had already admitted conspiracy to supply cannabis after police stopped a van being driven through Croydon on March 12 2004.

In the back they found 60 kilos of cannabis hidden inside two revolving bookcases and a chair made in the shape of a Harley-Davidson.

The furniture was part of a ?950 order Ward had made from a firm in Bromley Green, Kent, earlier in the year.

He told suppliers they should include hollow compartments because they were going to be used as cocktail cabinets.

The furniture was loaded up with cannabis resin in Spain by Ward and Vian then taken to a storage depot in Kent where it was kept until Webber picked it up. During the case Ward denied any of the covert tape recordings proved he also sold cocaine and claimed references to "Charlie" were a joke.

But he was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine in relation to this particular consignment of nine kilos of the drug.

Vian and three other men, Paul Woods, 31, and Terrence Pyne, 49, from Rotherhithe, and Jasraj Singh, 39, from Birmingham, were acquitted of this charge.

Referring to Ward and Vian, Mukul Chawla QC, prosecuting, said: "They are not petty street dealers selling the odd gram of cocaine but dealers on a commercial scale. Their trade is measured not in tens or hundreds of pounds but in hundreds of thousands and possibly even millions of pounds."

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