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Two jailed for importing thousands of diazepam tablets

The men were caught as part of Operation Etna to tackle the supply of class C drugs into the UK and their onward distribution in the Bridgend area.

This was a multi-agency operation led by officers from Bridgend’s Organised Crime Unit and involved The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, UK Border Force and the National Crime Agency.

The defendants were responsible for the importation of more than 350,000 diazepam tablets which could have a potential street value exceeding £32,000.

The investigation began when UK Border Force officers intercepted a number of parcels sent form Sri Lanka to addresses in the Bridgend area.

South Wales Police executed search warrants at an address in Bridgend in March 2018 along with addresses in Porthcawl, Swansea and Rhondda Cynon Taf areas in June of last year.

Three men were sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court on Friday (July 5) after admitting to conspiring to evade the law by the importation of controlled drugs – class C.

Paul Jones

Paul Jones, aged 30, of Tonypandy, Rhondda Cynon Taf, and Paul Roche, aged 45, of North Cornelly, Bridgend, also both pleaded guilty to supplying a controlled drug of class B – amphetamine.

Jones – the facilitator of the group – was jailed for 16 months and Roche was sentenced to eight months imprisonment.

David Clark, aged 38, of Porthcawl, was sentenced to two months imprisonment suspended for 18 months for the importation offence. He was also ordered to carry out unpaid work for 200 hours.

Detective Sergeant Karen Merrett, of Bridgend’s Organised Crime Unit, said: “This operation is an example of the continued commitment by South Wales Police to tackle organised crime groups and preventing the supply of harmful drugs onto the streets of south Wales. South Wales Police continues to work closely with agencies such as UK Border Force, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and the National Crime Agency to prevent drugs reaching our communities.”

She added: “If you have any information regarding the supply of illicit drugs then I would urge you tell us so that we can act upon it.”

Mark Jackson, MHRA Head of Enforcement Group, said: “The MHRA is committed to protecting public health and works with law enforcement partners to combat illegal activity involving medicines.

“Selling medicines outside of the regulated supply chain is a criminal offence and we will continue to work with others to identify and prosecute those who recklessly endanger public safety through the illegal importation and supply of prescription medicines.

“Criminals have no concern for your health and are simply seeking to make a quick profit.

“We recommend that you speak to a GP or healthcare professional if you have any questions or concerns about your health.”

Anyone with any information or concerns about drug supply can call South Wales Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.