EIGHT drug dealers were locked up for a total of nearly 20 years after being caught by an undercover police operation combatting organised crime throughout Gwent.

Ashley Morgan, aged 18, of Ringwood Hill, Ringland, Newport, David Griffiths, aged 57, of Gelligroes Road, Pontllanfraith, Lisa Evans, aged 36, of Laybourne Close, Pontnewydd, Cwmbran, Leah Sterry, aged 30, of Longfellow Gardens, Graig-y-Rhacca, Caerphilly, Robert Plant, aged 36, of West View Crescent, Treharris, Gavin James, aged 39, of Llwyn-yr-Eos, Nelson, Joanne James, aged 42, of Pen y Graig, Penpedairheol, near Ystrad Mynach and Alun Pascoe, also known as Harris, aged 64, of Milton Place, also Graig-y-Rhacca, were sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court.

They were arrested as part of Operation Dynamic, a major Gwent Police exercise involving around 180 specialist officers following a series of dawn raids across the force area last month.

Prosecutor Gareth James said: "The purpose of the operation involved the deployment of undercover police officers whose objective was to buy class A controlled drugs, identify the individuals and provide direct evidence and intelligence on those responsible for the supply of drugs."

Judge Nicola Jones heard how covert recording devices and cameras were used to photograph the dealers.

Morgan was sent to a young offender institution for three years after he admitted four counts of supplying class A drugs, including heroin and crack cocaine.

The court heard how he sold four bags of drugs on three different occasions to undercover officers.

Morgan was dealing the drugs in Newport and Ben Waters, mitigating, said his client “was put to work by other people and made no profit”.

He also pleaded guilty to two counts of dangerous driving, two of handling stolen goods, possession of heroin, possession of cocaine, failing to stop, driving without a licence and driving without insurance.

For these separate offences he was locked up for an additional 18 months, making a total sentence of four years and six months for which he must serve half in custody.

Morgan was also banned from driving for four years and six months.

Griffiths was jailed for three years and four months.

He pleaded guilty to three counts of supplying crack cocaine, supplying heroin and refusing to provide a drug sample.

The defendant has 78 convictions for 208 offences but none for drug trafficking.

Peter Donnison, mitigating for Griffiths, said his client’s case was a “sad” one in which he had spent his entire life “trapped” in drug addiction.

The defendant had set up a dedicated drugs telephone line and was selling crack cocaine with a purity analysed as being between 83-86% and heroin at 42%.

Evans, who admitted supplying heroin, was a “low-level supplier” caught selling a £20 bag of heroin to an undercover officer which had a purity of 23%.

The court heard how the mother-of-one, represented by Karl Williams, had been a drug user for 20 years.

Evans was jailed for 12 months, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to attend a 12-day rehabilitation activity requirement and observe a six-month curfew between 8pm and 7am.

Sterry pleaded guilty to two counts of supplying heroin after selling £30 and £20 bags.

She had 19 previous convictions for 31 offences, including supplying a class C drug.

Kevin Seal, mitigating, for the mother-of-one, said she was a “social supplier” who did so to people she knew.

She was jailed for two years and eight months.

Plant was jailed for two years and eight months after pleading guilty to supplying heroin.

He sold two bags of the drug to an undercover officer in March.

Emma Harris, mitigating, said the defendant, a father-of-two, was a heroin user who had admitted the offences and “had been used by dealers above”.

Gavin James pleaded guilty to supplying heroin and was described as a “go-between”.

The court heard the defendant, represented by Ed Mitchard, was a heroin addict who thought he was supplying a fellow user and didn’t profit from the deal.

He was jailed for 12 months, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to complete a drug rehabilitation requirement.

James must also pay prosecution costs of £250.

Joanne James was jailed for three years after she pleaded guilty to two counts of supplying heroin.

The “street dealer” sold two wraps of the drug valued at £30 each on separate occasions.

The court heard she had 43 previous convictions for 132 offences, but none for drug trafficking.

Ben Waters, mitigating, said his client, a mother, had an “unenviable record” who had struggled with fighting class A drug addiction.

Alun Pascoe guilty to three counts of supplying heroin and was jailed for three years.

Nik Strobl, mitigating, said the defendant had been a drug addict for 50 years which had “blighted his life” and was in “poor health”.

Pascoe supplied three wraps of heroin valued at £20 each with a purity of up to 37%.

He had 37 previous convictions for 80 offences but none for drug trafficking.

The prosecution was also represented by Byron Broadstock.

All defendants must pay a victim surcharge.