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Gloucestershire Business News

Man sentenced after conspiring to bring £300,000 worth of heroin and cocaine into South West

A Bristol man involved in conspiring to bring £300,000 worth of heroin and cocaine to the streets of the South West has been jailed for nine and a half years.

Assane Simpson, 26, and who had been living in the Knowle area of Bristol, was caught after information from a phone linked him to Gloucester drug dealer Aaron James, who was convicted earlier this month.

Both were brought to justice after an investigation by specialist drugs officers from Gloucestershire Constabulary, in conjunction with Avon and Somerset Police.

Painstaking analysis of the seized phone and another handset that was found later in the investigation meant that officers were able to prove there had been conversations between the two men, showing the pair had been working on the wholesale supply of heroin and cocaine prior to James's arrest in February this year.

In one example, Simpson sent a photo to James of a quarter of a kilogram of heroin in which he had circled some of the heroin and indicated he was unhappy with the quality. In other conversations, Simpson discussed selling half a kilogram of cocaine for £19,000 and half a kilogram of heroin in Cheltenham for £50,000.

Officers believe Simpson was a high to mid-level drug dealer, selling large bulk amounts of drugs to lower level drug dealers.

A separate proactive operation by Avon and Somerset Police had previously recovered half a kilogram of heroin from a male in Exeter, alongside Simpson's fingerprints on the packaging, demonstrating his reach across the region.

As well as extensive analysis of phones linked to the investigation, other evidence recovered by officers included a set of scales at Simpson's home that contained traces of heroin and cocaine.

Simpson was arrested on the M4 near Swindon in June. He pleaded not guilty to the offences but following a four-day trial at Gloucester Crown Court last week the jury convicted him after just an hour of deliberation.

He was given a nine and a half year prison term for conspiring to supply heroin and cocaine, being concerned in the supply of cocaine and possessing false identification.

Earlier this month, Aaron Levi James, 32 and of Nutcroft in Gloucester, was handed a nine-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to being concerned in the supply of a class A drug and possession with intent to supply a class A drug.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil Smith said: "This was another outstanding investigation by our officers, with great assistance from Avon and Somerset colleagues.

"Our Force Crime Operations Team continues to relentlessly target and disrupt criminals who exploit our vulnerable communities.

"Exploitative drug networks remain an operational priority for Gloucestershire Constabulary.

"The pain and harm drug dealers cause to communities is abhorrent, they prey on the weak and vulnerable. We will continue to bring the full force of our resources into identifying them, targeting them and disrupting them."

Investigator PC Andrew Smetham said: "Assane Simpson will be known to many people as Andre, Reds or Big Reds.

"Through working closely with our colleagues from Gloucestershire, we're delighted that a prolific drug dealer is now behind bars and off Bristol's streets.

"Illegal drugs cause a huge amount of misery and we welcome the significant sentence handed out, which should act as a warning to others that crime does not pay."

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