Kingswood and Staple Hill men sentenced as part of ‘commercial scale’ drug dealing operation

Ketamine with an estimated street worth of £168,000 was seized by police during their operation.

<p>Scott Ryan, left, and James Marshall, right, have been jailed for part in a drug dealing gang operating on a ‘commercial scale’</p>

Scott Ryan, left, and James Marshall, right, have been jailed for part in a drug dealing gang operating on a ‘commercial scale’

Two men from Bristol and South Gloucestershire have been jailed for their involvement in a drug dealing operation after a police sting uncovered the gang’s encrypted messages to move Ketamine across the country. The pair were sentenced at Bristol Crown Court on Friday (November 25), in total, five men were sentenced to a combined 30 years

Thirty-three-year-old, James Marshall, from Staple Hill, and 37-year-old Scott Ryan, from Kingswood, used the encrypted messaging service, EncroChat to mastermind multiple six-figure drug deals across county lines. The pair were arrested following a police operation conducted in Bristol on 16-17 March this year. Three other men from Sussex were apprehended two months later.

Ryan was stopped in his van and Marshall was arrested at a Bristol pub by officers. The van was searched, and police seized several packages containing ketamine, with an estimated street value of £168,000. Mobile phones and approximately £6,000 in cash were also seized.

Surveillance work was carried out and evidence was obtained showing Ryan would drive across the country as part of the group’s efforts to transport drugs. Warrants were later carried out at Ryan’s home in Kingswood and at a lock-up in Warmley where almost £8,000 in cash and more ketamine was seized.

All five men were sentenced as follows:

  • Newman, 34, of Brambletyne in Saltdean – jailed for seven-and-a-half years.
  • Beesley, 34, of Kings Drive in Eastbourne – jailed for eight years and eight months.
  • Ryan Caplin, 26, of Kingsway in Brighton – jailed for three years and four months.
  • James Marshall, 33 of Seymour Road in Staple Hill – jailed for 6 years and nine months.
  • Scott Ryan, 37, of Albany Street in Kingswood – jailed for four years.

Newman and Beesley were jointly charged with three counts of conspiracy to supply class B drugs (ketamine and cannabis) and one count of conspiracy to transfer criminal property. Caplin was charged with conspiracy to transfer criminal property and a second of conspiracy to supply ketamine as well. They pleaded guilty to all charges and were sentenced at Lewes Crown Court on October 28.

Marshall and Ryan pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply ketamine and possession with intent to supply the same class B drug. They also both admitted conspiracy to transfer criminal property. Ryan also admitted three further offences, namely possession of an offensive weapon in a public place and two counts of possessing criminal property.

Detective Sergeant Jason Chidgey said: “We welcome the strong sentences handed out to these five men and hope it sends a loud message to anyone involved in the supply of illegal drugs. These results come off the back of a complex and lengthy investigation and show that police and other law-enforcement agencies are steadfast in their determination to bring down organised crime groups who cause misery in local communities”

Ketamine with an estimated street worth of £168,000 was seized by police during their operation.

“Crime doesn’t pay. It may be a well-used phrase, but it still holds true and these five men have learned that lesson the hard way with these prison sentences and the future confiscation of assets they tried to accrue through their criminality.

“We are grateful for the support of the Crown Prosecution Service and other agencies in bringing these men to justice.”