Seven men and two women have been sentenced for their parts in a £250,000 drug gang. Crime reporter BEN FRAMPTON has the exclusive.

A DRUGS gang responsible for bringing in almost £250,000 worth of heroin into Newport has been jailed for a total of 42 years.

Yesterday, five more people were given prison sentences totalling 26 years for their roles in bringing the Class A drug along the M4 corridor from London and distributing it throughout South Wales to places including Newport, Barry and Swansea.

This follows three men being locked up for 16 years in 2012 as part of the same supply chain.

Prosecutor Hywel Hughes told Cardiff Crown Court yesterday that Carl Matthews, 40, and Gareth Jarvis, 28, both of Gaskell Street, Newport, “stood at the pinnacle of this operation.”

Matthews would meet a London-based Albanian man at various service stations along the M4 between July and December 2011. There, he would pick up consignments of drugs before bringing them back to Newport and storing them either in the wheelie bin or buried in the gravel in the garden of Jarvis’ home in Lysaght Avenue which he shared with then-girlfriend Fiona Walbey, 23, now of Phillip Court, Newport.

On November 30, 2011, police were watching the gang and saw Matthews pull up outside Jarvis’ home and go inside carrying a bag before coming out six minutes later empty-handed.

They raided the house and found Michael Fayers, 31, of Llanthewy Road, Newport, stood in the kitchen just feet away from the bag which contained four solid blocks of heroin, wrapped in socks.

Each block weighed around 500g and had been cut, so each had a street value of around £50,000, totalling £200,000.

Upstairs, police found Jarvis and his cousin Richard Conibeer, 23, of Fernside, Lliswerry, along with a cannabis cultivation system in the attic, 34 cannabis plants and £4,000.

Mr Hughes also said Fayers, whom he described as Jarvis’ lieutenant, had been stopped by police in July 2011 after he was seen coming out of the home of Jason Croft, who was jailed last year for his role in the conspiracy, and getting in a taxi. A search revealed 59 separate wraps of heroin of various weights.

Jarvis was jailed for ten years, Matthews for eight and Fayers for seven.

Conibeer got 12 months, but due to time spent on remand, was allowed to walk from court and Walbey was given a 26-week jail sentence, suspended for 12 months. They all pleaded guilty.

Yesterday’s sentencing follows three others who were locked up last year as part of the same conspiracy, this time involving the supply of £45,000 worth of the drug.

In August, Stewart Evans, 28, of Morgan Street, Croft, 30, of Hawksworth Grove, and Kevin Williams, 30, of Clevedon Road, all Newport, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin between January 31 and July 2, 2011.

Evans and Croft were sentenced to six years in prison, while Williams was sentenced to four years.

Evans’ partner, Katie Dyer, 23, of Lilleshall Street, Newport, pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis, 50 ecstasy tablets and criminal property and was given a 12- month community order with a supervision requirement.

How a phone call led police to heart of drug gang

OFFICERS were initially alerted to the activities of the gang after a call was received reporting suspicious activity in Caerleon on March 18, 2011, which led to the arrests of Jason Croft, Kevin Williams and Stuart Evans over the following four weeks after being found in possession of heroin with a street value of £1,000.

Based on the information gathered, officers investigating wanted to make arrests further up the supply chain and Operation Hawkeye was established.

The operation involved covert surveillance of Jarvis due to mobile phone records linking him to the mobile phones taken from Croft, Fayers and Williams.

DC Paul Jones, the officer in the case, said: "Building the case against the group took a considerable amount of dedication and team work. We gathered evidence of meetings and conversations which were held all over Gwent and the information we gathered ultimately led us to the source of the drugs in London.

"I’m very proud of the work we have done, results like this make all the hard work worthwhile and help to improve the safety of the public who we serve."

Detective Inspector Matthew Sedgebeer, who oversaw the operation, added: "The fact that this entire operation started because a member of the public picked up the phone to report suspicious activity just goes to show how important it is to report things to the police."

Jarvis early guilty plea 'act of showing real regret'

JARVIS admitted conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and producing Class B drugs. His defence counsel, Stephen Thomas, said Jarvis admitted he was a retail seller and takes full responsibility for his actions.

Matthews pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. Robert Duvall, mitigating, said his early guilty plea was “the responsible act of a man who genuinely and deeply regrets his involvement in this enterprise.”

Hilary Roberts, for Conibeer, who pleaded guilty to producing Class B drugs, said his client had already spent 12 and a half months on remand, the equivalent to a 25-month prison sentence, so he was allowed to go free.

Harry Baker, for Michael Fayers, who admitted two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, said he pleaded guilty at an early stage and was involved to fund his own heroin habit.

On behalf of Walbey, who admitted permitting her premises to be used to supply a drug of Class A and permitting her premises to be used to produce a drug of Class B, James Evans said she had no idea of the scale of what was happening at her house and wasn’t aware Class A drugs were involved.