A NEWPORT drugs gang was sent to prison for a total of 16 years for their part in the supply of more than £45,000 worth of heroin.

Stewart Evans, 27, of Morgan Street, Jason Croft, 29, of Hawksworth Grove, and Kevin Williams, 29, of Clevedon Road, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin between January 31 and July 2 last year.

Williams pleaded guilty on the basis that his involvement was from the middle of February to March 21 last year.

Cardiff Crown Court heard how the men used a phone for a “drugs line” which they swapped between them to arrange deals.

On February 1 last year, Evans, who was known as “Goggles”, and his partner Katie Dyer were stopped by police.

Dyer, 23, of Lilleshall Street, had £1,500 cash in her bra while a search of Evans’ home found ecstasy, cannabis and £3,605 in cash.

Evans pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis and Dyer pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis, 50 ecstasy tablets and criminal property.

Andrew Morse, prosecuting, said that on March 21 Evans was found with £150 cash, cling film and heroin wraps worth £750 in his car. He was stopped again on April 4 while on bail and was found to have a small plastic ball in his buttocks containing £280 worth of heroin wraps.

Officers searched Croft’s house on July 1 and found a bag containing half a kilogram of heroin with a street value of £45,000 in an outside bin.

Phone records showed thousands of incoming calls to the “drugs line”.

Steven Thomas, defending Evans, said he accepts this was street dealing but said it was not wholesale dealing.

He said Evans was not the sole holder of the “drugs line” and said most of his profit was spent on his cocaine addiction.

David Martin, defending Croft, said he has shown remorse and is now a “wholly different person”.

David Webster, defending Williams, said he had a £100-aweek drug habit which escalated, so his debts to those higher up the chain increased.

The Recorder of Cardiff, Judge Eleri Rees, said Evans, Croft and Williams were significant suppliers of drugs in the Newport area with Evans and Croft having leading roles.

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

Dyer was given a 12-month community order with a supervision requirement.

Proceeds of crime proceedings started for Croft and Dyer with £3,396 worth of assets released as far as Croft is concerned and £1,500 regarding Dyer.

Evans and Williams will be discussed at a later hearing.