Eight men have been jailed for a total of more than 50 years for using a village butcher’s shop to sell and store class A drugs.
The men were involved in trafficking £1m worth of cocaine from the West Midlands to Monmouthshire.
Part of the supply chain was in a butcher’s shop in Sedbury, Gloucestershire, that stored and sold cocaine and other drugs.
The defendants all pleaded guilty at Gloucester Crown Court on Friday.
Det Insp Matt Phillips, from the serious and organised crime unit at Gloucestershire Constabulary, said the drugs found in the butcher’s were “hiding in plain sight”.
More than 5kg of cocaine was seized, 4kg of amphetamine and 10kg of cutting agents, along with £108,600 cash.
Judge Ian Lawrie KC said the figures were “just the tip of the iceberg” because the drug operation had been going on for some time.
Prosecutor Christine Hart explained that butcher Shane Tyrrell, 48, of Cliff View, Sedbury, and Richard Lawrence, 34, of Smithy Road, Llandogo, Monmouthshire, were involved in the illicit operation from February 2020.
In October 2020 the upstream supply of cocaine was being brought from the West Midlands down to the Forest of Dean and the Monmouth area.
“The conspiracy involved two separate, but linked, organised crime groups,” said Ms Hart.
The court was told the group in the West Midlands was headed by Brett Anslow, 39, of Four Winds Road, Dudley, Trevor Cook, 48 of Wheelwright Close, Darlaston, Wednesbury, and Michael Chand, 54, of Old Bridge Walk, Rowley Regis.
The Forest of Dean and Monmouthshire group was headed up by Lawrence, with Tyrell working for them.
Paul Johnson, 35, of Queens Acre, Newnham on Severn, Gloucestershire, and Jason Grindle, 36, of Market Place, Coleford, Gloucestershire, were also part of the Forest of Dean and Monmouthshire group.
Tyrell and Lawrence were arrested at their home addresses on 6 July 2021.
On 15 September, warrants were executed simultaneously at the addresses of Anslow, Cook, Chand and Grindle.
Another man, Alan Ballinger, 28, formerly of Coleford and also of Coniston Road, Cheltenham, was seen to have taken Lawrence’s role after his arrest in July 2021 and continued to be supplied by the West Midlands group.
Ballinger was arrested on 10 December at his address in Coleford.
Tyrell pleaded guilty to the conspiracy to supply cocaine between 1 February 2020 and 7 July 2021 and has been jailed for five years and seven months.
His long-term acquaintance and the local leader of the drugs gang Lawrence was sentenced to nine years.
The six other men were jailed after they all admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine.
Det Insp Phillips said: “Like many organised crime groups involved in drugs, the people at the top don’t want to get their hands dirty and Richard Lawrence used Shane Tyrrell.”
Judge Lawrie concluded: “The primary roles were heading by Anslow in the West Midlands and Lawrence in Gloucestershire and had the others working for them.
“They were the puppeteers and were directing the illicit operation.”
The judge sentenced Lawrence and Anslow to a prison term of nine years and told them that they had leading roles in their relevant areas of the country.
Cook and Chand were each sentenced to six years.
Johnson was sentenced to five years and seven months in prison.
Tyrell was sentenced to the same term and was told that all the monies found in his possession would be confiscated.
Ballinger was sentenced to 42 months, but was released having served this term whilst in custody.
The judge ordered the seizure of £45,000 found in his possession.
Dec Insp Phillips said the force was “really pleased” that the men all pleaded guilty.
“The leader of this organised crime group was Mr Lawrence and he thought he was untouchable.”