Two violent drugs gangs smashed

27 November 2009 06:13
Details of an operation against two violent Bristol gangs which trapped 23 criminals can now be told.The conviction of "enforcer", former Olympic judo competitor James Waithe, means reporting restrictions have been lifted on the trial of the drugs gangs. [LNB]The inquiry began in 2007 when dealer Philip Pearce, 57, his sons Jamie, 26, and Justin, 29, and six others were caught during Operation Marin. [LNB]In three years and four operations, an arsenal of guns and drugs was found. [LNB]Justin Pearce led one gang and is now serving 20 years in prison, while the other gang was led by Craig Rodel, 46. [LNB]Drugs factories[LNB]Rodel has pleaded guilty to drugs and firearms offences and faces life imprisonment. [LNB]Philip Pearce is serving 11 years, and Jamie three and a half years. [LNB][LNB]Justin Pearce is now serving 20 years for his drug dealingTogether, Pearce and Rodel supplied drugs on an industrial scale, running drugs factories in Keynsham, Highridge, Knowle West and Devon. [LNB]The gangs earned an estimated £50m. [LNB]Acting as Rodel's "enforcer" was Waithe, who represented Barbados at the Olympics and England in the Commonwealth Games. [LNB]After Justin Pearce was jailed in 2007, he pulled the strings via mobile phone and dealt remotely with large quantities of cocaine. [LNB]His girlfriend Leah Murphy, 28, became drawn in, and was jailed for seven years. [LNB]Rodel, who had once worked closely with the Pearces, saw an opportunity to exploit the gap left by the family in 2007. [LNB][LNB]Former Olympian James Waithe was a violent drugs "enforcer"At their height Rodel, Waithe, and three other men were running a business capable of turning over £1m a week. [LNB]Waithe's conviction for possessing a firearm with the intent to danger life, in addition to a conviction for cocaine dealing delivered on Thursday, has brought the police investigation to an end. [LNB]Speaking after the case concluded at Bristol Crown Court, Assistant Chief Constable Andy Marsh said: "It's a fantastic result. [LNB]"What I'm most pleased about is the streets of Avon and Somerset are much safer because we have got some really dangerous people behind bars. [LNB]"We have been dismantling, disrupting and destroying their criminal network over the last three years." [LNB]Waithe will be sentenced on 14 December.

Source: BBC_Sport