SEVEN PEOPLE involved in an organised crime group responsible for bringing cocaine and cannabis into north Wales have been sentenced.

The group was responsible for moving the drugs between Merseyside and Wrexham, Caernarfon Crown Court heard.

The following people appeared before the court for sentence on Monday, December 11:

  • Anthony Taylor, 40, of Knowles House Avenue, in Eccleston, St Helens, previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to supply a class A drug (cocaine).
  • Sean Gaunt, 36, of No Fixed Abode, previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to supply a class A drug (cocaine) and a class B drug (cannabis).  
  • John Jones, 63, of Churchill Drive in Wrexham, previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to supply a class A drug (cocaine).
  • Thomas Jones, 24, of Brynteg in Wrexham, previously pleaded guilty on the day of trial on September 11 to conspiring to supply a class B drug (cannabis).
  • Michael Barr, 40, of Thomas Street in Widnes,  previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to supply a class A drug (cocaine).
  • David Humphreys, 41, of Havard Way in Wrexham, pleaded guilty to conspiring to supply a class A drug (cocaine).
  • William Lord, 30, of Coed Efa in New Broughton, Wrexham, previously pleaded guilty at a hearing on September 4 to conspiring to supply a class B drug (cannabis).

Andrew Jones, prosecuting, said Gaunt was the 'top person' in the Wrexham side of the conspiracy, with Taylor head of the Merseyside operation.

Mr Jones explained that the organised crime group's activity eventually came to light thanks to 'Operation Blue Bounty', which was conducted by North Wales Police.

The operation was described in court as 'large scale industrial drug dealing'.

The cocaine operation lasted a period of five months between September 2022 and February 2023 and the cannabis operation lasted a month between September and October 2022.

Mr Jones said that the street value of the cocaine operation - overseen by Taylor and Gaunt - was between £480,000 and £600,000, with around 8kg of adulterated cocaine supplied in all.

Caffeine was used in the process to adulterate (weaken) the cocaine, the court heard.

Barr, Humphreys and John Jones were couriers in the cocaine operation, with Lord and Thomas Jones couriers for the cannabis operation.

On October 27, 2022, Lord's Audi vehicle was stopped on the A483 near Wrexham and it was found to contain £29,040 in cash within it, as well as 20 bags of cannabis, thought to be worth a street value of around £10,000.

Gaunt's fingerprints were also found to be on the bags.


A further search of Thomas Jones' address found further evidence of drug supply, including 3.5g of cannabis, £1,000 in cash and a mobile phone containing messages consistent with dealing.

On October 28, 2022, a vehicle stopped near Holywell - containing Humphreys as the passenger - was stopped by police and was found to contain a 'small amount' of cocaine estimated to be worth a street value of between £6,000 and £8,750.

On January 20 of this year, calls were made between Gaunt, Taylor and John Jones.

On that same day, Barr was seen on CCTV, at around 2pm, meeting with John Jones at the Spire Hospital in Warrington where a bag was handed over.

The latter was later stopped and searched by police who found 1kg of caffeine - believed to be used to adulterate the drugs - in his possession, as well as 3kg of cocaine, believed to be worth a street value of between £48,000 to £70,000. 

A mobile phone seized from John Jones showed there had been contact between himself, Gaunt and Taylor that day, the court was told.

All defendants in the case were arrested by North Wales Police on February 16 of this year.

Dafydd Roberts, defending Gaunt, said that he was prepared to 'serve his sentence' so that he could 'return to being a father to his children' and 'leave the life of crime behind him'.

Oliver King, defending Barr, said that an accident at work had led to him falling into 'financial hardship' and that this had led him to becoming involved in the conspiracy.

The Leader: PIC: The seven defendants were jailed at Caernarfon Crown Court.

Mr King, also defending Thomas Jones in the case, said he had become embroiled due to being 'addicted' to the drug he was supplying.

Jemma Gordon, defending Taylor, said that he had 'had the good sense' to plead guilty, while Nicholas Williams, defending Lord, said that he had now found work as a 'legitimate courier' in the Wrexham area.

Mark Connor, defending John Jones and Humphreys, said it was 'a surprise to many' that the former had become involved in the operation and the latter had been dealing with the loss of a partner.

Judge Nicola Saffman sentenced Taylor to 12 years and nine months in prison, while Gaunt was handed a sentence of 10 years and eight months for count one (cocaine) and two years and eight months for count two (cannabis), to run concurrently.

Barr was handed a sentence of eight years in prison, while both Humphreys and John Jones were sentenced to a period of six years and eight months each.

Thomas Jones received a sentence of nine months, which was suspended for 10 months and was ordered to carry out 20 rehabilitation sessions.

Lord was sentenced to nine months, which was suspended for 18 months and he will have to complete 20 rehabilitation sessions, as well as 100 hours of unpaid work.

Speaking after sentencing, North Wales Police Detective Chief Inspector Mark Hughes said: “Today’s sentences reflect the severity of the crimes we have investigated over a protracted period.

“Tackling serious and organised crime is a priority for us and we will continue to work with colleagues from neighbouring forces to ensure that borders are no barrier to ensuring that drug dealers face justice.

“Those that perpetrate criminal activities such as these are not welcome in north Wales and I welcome today’s sentences.”