A DRUG trafficker labelled a “sad and useless dealer” by his own barrister has been jailed after he travelled from Port Talbot to Newport 13 times to pick up heroin and cocaine.

Varinder Sanghera was sent to prison for five years and eight months at Cardiff Crown Court by Judge Richard Twomlow.

The 40-year-old had been on trial after being accused of being part of a “successful and lucrative” Newport gang supplying heroin and crack cocaine to addicts in the city and throughout South Wales.

Sanghera was arrested as part of a Gwent Police operation codenamed Washington which led to seven men being convicted of a major conspiracy.


He was branded a “sad, idiotic dealer” by his defence barrister Timothy Evans during the six-week trial earlier this year.

The jury was deadlocked in their deliberations over Sanghera, of Queen Street, Pontrhydyfen, Neath Port Talbot, and failed to reach verdicts over conspiracy to supply class A drugs charges.

He is not an organised crime organiser. He is a dealer with a small 'd'

The Crown Prosecution Service has decided not to pursue a retrial after he pleaded guilty to two counts of supplying heroin and two counts of supplying cocaine in Port Talbot near his home village after picking up drugs in Newport.

Two of his co-defendants, Aftab Hussain, 31, of Laburnum Drive, Newport, and Lewis Farrell, 21, of Herbert Walk, Pill, Newport, were found guilty of conspiracy to supply class A drugs between November 1, 2018 and July 26, 2019.

Five other men – Parvis Ishaq, aged 30, of Cyril Street, Murtaza Hussain, aged 23, of Capel Crescent, Avatar Hussain, aged 26, of Bishpool View, Rizwaan Hussain, aged 23, of Llanthewy Road, all Newport, and Mohammed Ali, aged 38, of no fixed abode – pleaded guilty to the same charges during the early stages of the trial.

During the Operation Washington trial, Mr Evans, defending Sanghera, said: “My client is a sad, idiotic dealer. He is not an organised crime organiser. He is a dealer with a small 'd'.

“He’s not a wealthy drug dealer. He doesn’t even have a car. He’s a sad, useless, one-man band.”

Prosecutor Heath Edwards said the seven were all part of a “successful and lucrative business” that used a central pay-as-you-go mobile phone line to meet the needs of hundreds of customers.

He told the jury of eight men and four women: “They all worked together as part of a conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine to drug addicts in Newport and beyond.

“Each defendant assisted in a different way. It was a successful and lucrative business. The telephone was a valuable commodity.”

He added that group text messages would be sent out to hundreds of drug addicts advertising products with prices and advising potential customers, “Hurry while stocks last.”

The court heard how “text bombs or flares” were used to advertise class A drugs for sale to existing clients.

Drug users from all over South Wales would call the number, known as the ‘Goshi’ line, and place orders for heroin and crack cocaine before a “runner” would deliver the merchandise in return for cash after meeting them in Newport city centre, Mr Edwards said.

The number was contacted on average 234 times a day over a nine-month period.

The seven guilty men were remanded in custody and are awaiting sentence.