Three men have been jailed for their roles in an operation to smuggle illegal drugs into the South West after being caught by police.
Sam Bullus, Lee Meredith, and Mark Taylor were part of a set-up which saw drugs driven from Liverpool into Bristol.
Police officers launched an investigation after intelligence suggested Lee Meredith was involved in buying and selling drugs.
And on 28 August last year Mark Taylor, disguised as a cyclist, rode up to Meredith’s Avon Crescent address in the Hotwells area of Bristol with a bag filled with drugs.
Taylor then put his bike in the back of a van parked around the corner which he’d driven down from Liverpool that morning.
Shortly after, both men were seen to make a phone call which was later discovered to be to Sam Bullus.
The pair then drove Taylor’s van to Midsomer Norton where they met an associate of Bullus’ on a quiet lane.
Officers stopped the vehicle in Pensford on its way back to Bristol and found a bag containing £10,800 in cash. A subsequent search of the van by cash detection dog PD Fred found £71,970 hidden behind specially adapted panels.
As he was being pulled over by police, Meredith called to ask his son Miles to remove drugs, some of which had been delivered to his address by Taylor earlier in the day.
A short while later officers stopped a car which had been filled with drugs by Miles Meredith in the Cribbs Causeway area. Found inside the car was 1,957 grams of amphetamine with a street value of £20,000; 525 grams of heroin worth £52,500; 607 grams of ketamine worth £12,000 and 1960 grams of cocaine worth £156,800.
All four men were sentenced at Bristol Crown Court today (Wednesday, 18 March) for their roles in the operation.
• Bullus, 22, of Nunney, was jailed for two years and six months after pleading guilty to being concerned in the supply of a Class A drug (cocaine) and possession of criminal property. The latter charge related to the £10,800 cash found in the van and a further £4,900 found in a safe at his home address.
• Lee Meredith, 53, of Bristol, was handed a prison term of five years and four months after admitting to being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs (cocaine and heroin) and Class B drugs (ketamine and amphetamine) on the first day of his trial. He was also sentenced to possessing criminal property relating the £10,800 of cash.
• Miles Meredith, 21, of Bristol, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years and must do 200 hours of unpaid work. He admitted to being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs (cocaine and heroin) and Class B drugs (ketamine and amphetamine).
• Mark Taylor, 59, of Liverpool, will serve two years in prison after admitting possessing criminal property in relation to the £10,800 of cash and the £71,970 found hidden in the van. He was convicted of supplying ketamine, a Class B drug following a trial.
Detective Inspector Ben Lavender, the senior investigating officer, said: “These men were by no means amateur drug dealers, they were well organised and took precautions in an attempt to evade detection.
“Taylor in particular went to great lengths – stashing cash in specially created hidden compartments inside his van and changing into Lycra to disguise himself as a cyclist while the quiet rural meeting location was clearly a deliberate choice.
“However, a well-constructed investigation gathered the necessary evidence to put them behind bars.”
He added: “This successful investigation has taken almost £250,000 worth of drugs off the streets of Avon and Somerset and prevented criminals from pocketing tens of thousands of pounds.
“Drugs are a blight on our communities and we will not tolerate those who look to bring them into our force area and sell them on our streets.”
If you have information about people you believe are dealing drugs, please call 101 or contact us online.
Alternatively pass on information through the independent charity Crimestoppers 100 per cent anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via their anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded and you will not go to court or have to speak to police when contacting Crimestoppers.