Ten men have been jailed for a total of 54 years for their parts in a huge plot to sell tens of thousands of pounds’ worth of hard drugs on the streets of Sheffield.
The ringleader was Marcus Gad Binghi Thompson - who in 2009 was charged with murdering James Kamara in a drive-by shooting in Broomhall. He was acquitted in 2010 when the trial collapsed.
The 35-year-old was at the head of a group which distributed drugs across Sheffield and Rotherham, while others tended cannabis plants, delivered the drugs and stored money, Sheffield Crown Court heard.
Thompson was jailed for 19 years after a jury found him guilty of conspiracy to possess a firearm and conspiracy to supply heroin.
He also admitted conspiracy to supply cannabis - but was cleared of a plot to sell cocaine.
Thompson’s activities came to light during an eight-month investigation, Operation Mycology, carried out by South Yorkshire Police’s serious and organised crime unit.
Senior investigating officer Det Insp Richard Shimwell said: “This has been a long and complex investigation into the wholesale supply of Class A and B controlled drugs to the streets of South Yorkshire.
“Those concerned are violent individuals, and the recovery of firearms and ammunition only serves to demonstrate the potentially fatal consequences drug dealing at this level often involves.
“The streets of South Yorkshire are a safer place as a result of this verdict.”
The court heard Thompson, of Bowfield Road, Firth Park, was put under police surveillance and seen visiting addresses in Sheffield and Rotherham from which officers later recovered drugs, a gun and ammunition.
His co-defendants - his brother Joseph Thompson, plus Thomas Carlin, Aaron Martin, Michael Lee, Gary Neil, Reza Kermani, Kaveh Faridi, Michael Parkin and Brinsley Mason - were also jailed.
The court heard Thompson rarely had possession of the drugs himself and always tried to stay one step ahead of the police.
In May 2012 he was seen visiting an address in Wybourn House Road. After he left, police executed a search warrant and discovered a large quantity of crack cocaine.
Two months later, on July 6, police executed a search warrant in Lord Street, Rotherham. Inside the house, officers discovered 243 cannabis plants with a potential street value of £24,000.
On October 2 police searched an address in School Yard, Whiston, and seized cannabis with a street value of £73,500, together with £10,000 cash.
While the search was going on Kaveh Faridi, 25, of Churchfield Road, Acton, London, arrived with £10,000 in cash.
The police operation ended on October 25 when Thompson was seen visiting the home of Aaron Martin in Herries Road, Sheffield. Officers saw Martin leave carrying half a kilo of heroin. At the property, a further half kilo of heroin was found, along with a handgun and ammunition.
DI Shimwell praised the prosecution team and his officers, and added: “I would like to thank the jury for their patience and attention demonstrated during the eight weeks of this trial.
“Their role is often overlooked but should never be underestimated.”
The rest of the jailed gang
Aaron Martin, aged 22, of Herries Road, Shirecliffe, Sheffield - admitted conspiracy to supply heroin and was found guilty of conspiracy to possess a prohibited weapon and ammunition. Cleared of conspiracy to supply cocaine. Jailed for nine and a half years.
Thomas Carlin, 37, of St John’s Road, Aldwarke, Rotherham, - found guilty of conspiring to possess a firearm, admitted conspiracy to supply cannabis. Jailed for eight years.
Reza Kermani, 38, of School Yard, Whiston, Rotherham - found guilty of conspiracy to supply cannabis. Jailed for four years.
Brinsley Shaka Mason, 24, of Wybourn House Road, Wybourn, Sheffield - admitted possessing a Class A drug with intent to supply. Jailed for three and a half years.
Gary Neil, 51, of Bramwell Street, Eastwood, Rotherham - admitted conspiracy to supply cannabis. Jailed for two years.
Michael Lee, 28, of Sandringham Road, Intake, Doncaster - admitted conspiracy to purchase a prohibited weapon. Jailed for 32 months.
Michael Parkin, 49, of Lord Street, East Dene, Rotherham - found guilty of producing cannabis. Cleared of conspiracy to supply cannabis. Jailed for 15 months.
Marcus Thompson’s brother Joseph Thompson, 28, of Ecclesfield Road, Chapeltown - admitted possessing counterfeit currency. Cleared of conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine. Jailed for four months. Kaveh Faridi, 25, of Acton, London - found guilty of conspiracy to supply cannabis, admitted possessing CS gas canisters. Jailed for four years.