Three Britishers were arrested for the illegal import more than 350,000 diazepam tablets from Sri Lanka to Wales, Wales Online reported on Thursday.
It said Paul Jones, Paul Roche, and David Clark 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. The defendants were responsible for the importation of more than 350,000 diazepam tablets – used to treat anxiety, muscle spasms, and fits – with a potential street value exceeding £32,000.
The South Wales Police said the convictions were the result of an operation led by officers from Bridgend’s organised crime unit and involving the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), UK Border Force, and the National Crime Agency.
The investigation began when UK Border Force officers intercepted a number of parcels sent from Sri Lanka to addresses in the Bridgend area. Police executed search warrants at an address in Bridgend in March 2018 along with addresses in the Porthcawl, Swansea , and Rhondda Cynon Taf areas in June of last year.
The trio were sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court last Friday after admitting to conspiring to evade the law by the importation of controlled drugs of Class C.
Jones, 30, of Tonypandy , and Roche, 45, of North Cornelly, 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, 38, of Porthcawl , was sentenced to two months imprisonment suspended for 18 months for the importation offence. He was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.
Detective Sergeant Karen Merrett, of Bridgend’s organised crime unit, said the operation was an example of the continued commitment by the South Wales Police to tackle organised crime groups and preventing the supply of harmful drugs onto the streets of South Wales.