FIVE men, including two from Newport, who were part of an organised crime group importing large quantities of mephedrone into Gwent and South Wales have been jailed.

Following Operation Horizon, an investigation by the Regional Task Force into the criminal activities of the Newport and Cardiff based group, all five men were arrested.

Officers seized mephedrone and during house searches large quantities of cash and high value goods were seized, including a Rolex watch valued at £17,000.

All five men were charged with conspiring together with others to fraudulently evade the prohibition on importation 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 yesterday.

Thomas Michael Reynolds, 32, of Pencarn Avenue, Duffryn, was sentenced to three years in prison, Christopher John Beard, 40, of Old Hill Crescent, Christchurch, Newport was sentenced to four years in prison, Raja Ali Usman, 25, of Dugdale Walk, Cardiff was sentenced to 18 months in prison, Khalid Ali Ege, 37, of Neville Street, Cardiff was sentenced to four years in prison and Konrad Swzychowicz, 31, of Ferry Road, Cardiff was given an 18-month suspended sentence.

On June 28, 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. Officers discovered the person who placed the advertisement lived in the Gwent area.

The investigation found the favoured method of importing the mephedrone packages was through airports and then by courier service to a safe house address.

On November 15, 2011 and December 1 2011, two packages weighing 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 of the packages were tested and found to contain Methylethylcathinone which is a Cathinone related compound of mephedrone.

Detective Superintendent Rhiannon Kirk said: “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 sentences.”