Operation Horizon was an investigation undertaken by the Regional Task Force into the criminal activities of an organised crime group based in Cardiff and Newport. This organised crime group were identified as being responsible for the importation facilitation and distribution of large quantities of Mephedrone into Southern Wales.
On 28th June 2011 the investigation team became aware of an advertisement placed on an Indian website looking for a Mephedrone supplier to the UK. The requested amount was 10Kg a week. It was soon established that the person who placed the advertisement lived in the Gwent police area.
It was established that the favoured method of importing the Mephedrone packages was via airports and then by courier service to a safe house address.
On 15th November 2011 and 1st December 2011 2 packages (Totalling 4.5Kg) were seized at East Midlands and Birmingham airports. Both packages were destined for an address in Cardiff and were mislabelled to avoid detection. Both these packages were tested and found to contain Methylethylcathinone which is a Cathinone related compound of Mephedrone.
5 men were arrested following the seizure of Mephedrone and house searches took place where large quantities of cash and high value goods were seized, including a Rolex watch valued at £17,000.
All 5 men were charged with conspiring together with others to fraudulently evade the prohibition on importation thereof imposed by section 3(1) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 Contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977.
Following a hearing they were sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court on Tuesday February 4th:
Khalid Ali Ege, 37, of Neville Street, Cardiff was sentenced to 4 years prison
Thomas Michael Reynolds, 32, of Pencarn Avenue, Duffryn, Newport was sentenced to 3 years prison
Christopher John Beard, 40, of Church Street, Rogerstone, Newport was sentenced to 4 years prison
Raja Ali Usman, 25, of Dug dale Walk, Cardiff was sentenced to 18 months prison
Konrad Swzychowicz, 31, of Ferry Road, Cardiff was given an 18 month suspended sentence
Officer in the case Detective Constable commented: "This was an organised criminal network who wrongly believed they were above the law. They used a fictitious business as a front for importing Mephedrone from China into the UK to be peddled on the streets of South Wales."
Detective Superintendent Rhiannon Kirk: "Operation Horizon was led by the Regional Organised Crime Unit (Wales) working in partnership with other agencies including Gwent Police, South Wales Police and the UK Border Agency. Working together we were able to observe and eventually dismantle this harmful conspiracy."
"The convictions and sentences should serve as a warning to anyone thinking that drug dealing is a way to make money. Those involved in drug supply in Wales can expect to be arrested, prosecuted and relieved of any ill-gotten money or assets as it's only a matter of time until the law catches up with them.
"Drug dealers like these have no regard for the harm they inflict. This kind of criminality causes immeasurable misery and suffering in our communities and these men will hopefully reflect on this as they serve their time."