UNDERCOVER police smashed a highly organised drug ring in an operation aimed at stamping out the "despair and misery" caused by heroin and crack cocaine in a Leeds community.
Gang members flooded the streets of Chapeltown and Harehills with £127,000 worth of class A drugs over a four month period by operating the 'Paranoid Pete Line'.
Leeds Crown Court heard the "sophisticated and professional" operation was controlled by three men who arranged drug deals on the streets on a 24-hour basis.
Dava Mackay, prosecuting, said: "It was called the Paranoid Pete Line' due to the lengths dealers would go to to avoid detection.
"The Crown say this hands-on approach minimised the number of people involved and maximised profits.
"If people didn't use correct code words people would hang up."
Ten defendants were sentenced to a total of more than 40 years. Six other men are to be sentenced at later dates.
Mr Mackay said the operation was launched in a bid to target the impact of drugs on the community.
He said: "Crimes such as murder, kidnap, burglary and robbery are all regularly linked to this trade."
Two of the men at the head of the operation, Shawn Campbell and Darren Duncan, were each jailed for six years, four months, after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine.
A third man, Errol Powell, is still at large after fleeing the UK before he was arrested.
Gang members were arrested after undercover officers posing as drug addicts bought heroin and crack cocaine from dealers.
Between October of last year and March this year around 20,000 calls were made to the Paranoid Pete Line and around 5,000 drug deals were made.
It is estimated that around two kilograms of heroin and crack cocaine were sold, with a street value of £127,000.
Jailing Campbell and Duncan, judge Robin Mairs said he had read a statement from a police sergeant who had worked in Chapeltown and Harehills for 16 years, described the effect class A drugs has on the community.
He said: "He speaks of the misery that it brings.
"With it the violence and disputes to ensure that dealers retain their patches or the crimes committed by those wanting to gain money to buy those drugs.
He added: "This was a business. A highly professional and significant business of supplying class A drugs. It operated seven days a week."
Chief Superintendent Paul Money, Leeds District Commander, said: “Sadly we know only too well the human misery that these drugs cause, not just to the individuals who take them but to countless others in the wider community who suffer as a result of drug-related crime and anti-social behaviour.
“These men were brought to justice as part of a major crackdown on the supply of Class A drugs in the city, which was led by officers from Leeds District Serious Organised Crime Unit and specialist officers from our Protective Services Crime team.
“Those officers have been involved in more than a year’s worth of painstaking investigative work to build up a comprehensive evidence picture around these and other individuals who are yet to be dealt with at court following further arrest phases.
“The indisputable strength of the evidence that their work has produced has seen the defendants in this case left with no realistic option but to offer guilty pleas. We hope the significant sentences they have received will serve to reassure the community and send a very clear message to others who think they can get away with profiting from the organised supply of drugs.
“This landmark operation also targets the intrinsic link between the drugs trade and the criminal use of firearms. We have seen a number of discharges in the city which have been linked to feuds or turf wars between known criminal factions linked to the drugs market.
"A number of key individuals linked to those feuds have been taken out of the equation and are currently facing action through the criminal justice process. This operation is designed to build on that success and dismantle and disrupt those criminal groups even further.
"We remain firmly committed to keeping our communities safe by making full use of every available tactic to target those involved in the organised supply of drugs and associated firearms crime.
“Information from the community has a vital role to play in the success of this work and we would urge anyone who knows anything that could assist us to get in touch, anonymously if needed via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
Turned to crime after the failure of his scented candle business
'FAMILY MAN' Darren Duncan helped run the Paranoid Pete Line after his business selling scented candles failed, the court heard.
Duncan's barrister, Ilyas Patel, said his client obtained a good education in his native Jamaica before moving to the UK in 2001 to study engineering.
The court heard he had to drop out after his first year due to a lack of finances when his partner had their child.
Duncan then set up a successful business selling scented candles and ornaments but it failed when the recession hit.
Mr Patel said Duncan started another family and set up a business selling hairdressing supplies but his financial woes got worse and he got into £15,000 of debt.
The lawyer said: "When offered the chance to earn easy cash he succumbed.
"He thought he would dip his toe in and get out. But that is rarely the case
"He is ashamed of the shame he has brought on his mum and the Christian values he was brought up on.
"The very children he was seeking to support are now away from him and will remain so for some time to come.
"He had the good sense to plead guilty. He has penned an articulate letter that seeks to express the genuine and sorrow that he feels."
James Lake, for Campbell, said his client had pleaded guilty to the offences at an early stage.
The full list of jailed men
They were: Shawn Campbell, 45, of Mexborough Street, Chapeltown. Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine. Jailed for six years, four months.
Darren Duncan. 42, of Halliday Mount, Armley. Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine. Jailed for six years, four months.
Eight others were sentenced for supplying class A drugs. They were:
Gabriel Byrne, 18, of Blenheim Avenue, Woodhouse, Sent to a young offenders institution for two years.
Vincent Heaney, 47, of Trafford Terrance, Harehills. Jailed for 27 months.
Anton Glasgow, 22, Boldovan Terrace, Harehills. Jailed for five years, eight months.
Tristan Brennan, 35, of Spencer Place, Chapeltown. Jailed for five years, eight months.
Tyrone Mitcham, 30, of Harland Square, Woodhouse. Jailed for four years, four months.
Colin Liburd, 46, of Bayswater Road, Harehills, Jailed for three years.
Shane Dunwell, 26, of Roundhay Mount, Chapeltown, Jailed for three years, eight months.
Yannick Ntantu, 20, of Lea Farm Row, Kirkstall, Sent to a young offenders institution for two years, two months.