Sheffield’s ‘Cowboy’ last to be jailed in Full Metal Jacket drug trial

The drugs were hidden in a fridge. Operation Muzzle.
The drugs were hidden in a fridge. Operation Muzzle.
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A ‘highly intelligent’ maths graduate who used his brains to keep accounts for the most sophisticated drug gang South Yorkshire has witnessed has been jailed for nine years.

Jake Thomas Arnold, aged 28, created complex spreadsheet systems, oversaw deals and picked up deliveries for the criminal outfit which brought millions of pounds worth of cocaine to Sheffield between 2009 and 2011.

Sheffield Crown Court heard Arnold also looked after a number of safe houses – including a house on Montgomery Road, Nether Edge, where a police raid found £360,000 worth of class A and B drugs – for sophisticated criminals at the top of the racket. He earned the nickname Cowboy for his role in the gang, which used code names inspired by the war film Full Metal Jacket.

Arnold was the ninth and final defendant to be sentenced as part of South Yorkshire Police’s extensive investigation, known as Operation Muzzle, at Sheffield Crown Court yesterday. The rest of the men are serving a collective sentence of more than 100 years.

Dermot Hughes, defending, said: “This is a young man of considerable intelligence and it is unfortunate he used that for criminal activities. He studied for a maths degree at Leeds University and his life would be very different now if it had not been sidetracked by drugs.”

Arnold, of St Barnabas Road, Highfield, Sheffield, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conspiracy to supply cocaine, MCat, a Class A drug other than cocaine and a Class B drug.

Judge Paul Watson QC said: “You were not at the upper level of management but you played a very important role. At one time in your life you showed considerable potential but you exploited those qualities to make yourself an invaluable member of a criminal group.”