Two Barnsley men who were part of a drug-trafficking gang have been jailed for a total of 39 years.
Forty-five-year-old Richard Stead, of Wilthorpe, was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court to 21 years after being found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine and MCat, and Paul Robinson (35), of Shafton, received 18 years after admitting conspiracy to import and supply cocaine and other drugs.
Stead brought kilos of cocaine, MCat and Class B drugs into South Yorkshire. He was secretly taped talking about selling drugs and the cost of barrels of cutting agents used to dilute cocaine.
In all, there were eight members of the gang which flooded the north of England with £25 million worth of cocaine and they adopted code names inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s cult war film, Full Metal Jacket.
Stead was nicknamed ‘Ten Seconds’, while senior gang member Robinson was known as ‘Colonel’ and accomplice Frank Babar as ‘G-man’.
The gang, who smuggled drugs from Mexico to Yorkshire, also used code names for local areas. Sheffield became ‘Saigon’, Manchester ‘Hollywood’ and Ecclesall Road in Sheffield, where they met to discuss deals and pick up deliveries, was known as ‘The Strip’.
Prosecutor David Brooke told the six-week trial that the gang had been both clever and incredibly stupid to use nicknames as they gave the police a very good idea of the part each man played in the crime.
Detectives used surveillance, bugging devices and intelligence to foil the activities of the gang, which was turning over between £400,000 and £500,000 every month.
The men imported up to 200kg of cocaine from Mexico over a period of two years, concealed in the hydraulic arms of scissor lifts.
Police discovered parts for several lifts at an industrial unit in Battersea, London, and another unit at the Wharncliffe Business Park in Barnsley, where they also found a dust mask contaminated with cocaine.
The gang was captured after South Yorkshire Police launched a huge investigation in August 2011 involving several other forces, the Serious and Organised Crime Agency and foreign law enforcement agencies.
They tailed suspect Carl Carlton in his car to a lay-by in Rawmarsh, where he picked up half a kilo of cocaine with a street value of £40,000. After Carlton was arrested police seized his phones and began tracing the rest of the gang, .
It was said that several members of the gang lived luxury lifestyles, and one of them, Michael Dyson, had to be repatriated from the Netherlands for the trial. He was jailed for 18 years.
Brent Padgett, 30, of Barnburgh, Doncaster admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine and other drugs and was jailed for 16 years.
Four other men were jailed for 12 years each after admitting conspiracy to supply cocaine and other drugs. They were: Tristan Clarke, 28, of Sheffield, Joseph Fawcett, 26, of Sheffield, Anthony Urban, 35, of High Wycombe and Frazer Guest, 35, of Chesterfield.
Babar, 48, of Richmond, London will be sentenced later after being convicted of conspiracy to import cocaine and concealing criminal property.
The court heard he bought a tennis equipment company from ex-Wimbledon champion Pat Cash and a Dragon’s Den entrepreneur, Richard Farleigh, whom he knew through playing chess. He denied it was a front for his criminal activities.
Another defendant, Marco Russo, 41, of Streatham, London was cleared of conspiracy to import cocaine.
The jail sentences for the eight members of the gang amounted to 121 years in total.
Picture shows Richard Stead, known as ‘Ten Seconds’.