£1.9m Leeds drugs gang traded cocaine outside city hotel

A gang of drug dealers are thought to have sold around £1.9 million worth of cocaine on the streets of Leeds.

Saturday, 21st March 2015, 7:09 am

A court heard the gang’s domination of the drugs market in the city was close to a monopoly over a 12 month period.

Many of the drug deals took place in the city centre close to the Malmaison hotel, on Swinegate.

It is believed the 14 men involved in the supply conspiracy may have generated a total of £3 million throughout the period of offending through the sale of cocaine, heroin and cannabis.

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They operated a series of ‘ring and bring’ dealer lines which generated almost 200,000 calls.

A total of 64,646 separate drug deals are believed to have been made before the gang were arrested.

West Yorkshire Police officers posed as drug users in order to gain evidence against the gang.

Describing the operation, prosecutor Jonathan Sharp said: “The suppliers did not find it necessary to respond very quickly to requests of deliveries.

“The Crown observe the mechanism of competition was not present. It was noted that they had, if not a monopoly, a dominance over the market.

“They were confident they had no competition in the Leeds area.” Other areas were they supplied people with drugs included outside the Library pub in Woodhouse and Arc bar, in Headingley.

The men were arrested from properties across Leeds in March last year as part of West Yorkshire Police’s major crime fighting initiative Operation Viper.

Detectives began their covert operation after establishing a crime group in north Leeds. During the course of the investigation officers uncovered five ‘dealer lines’ run by the group. Drug users either call or text and then wait for dealers to make arrangements for drugs to be delivered to a set location.

Following the forensic examination of just one of the lines, detectives traced over 80,0000 contacts - either calls or text messages - to purchase drugs.

During the arrest phase assets in excess of £100,000 were seized with cash totalling £25,000 also uncovered.

Searches of a number of properties across Leeds also saw officers discover varying amounts of drugs including cocaine, heroin and cannabis. These are estimated to have a street value in excess of £70,000. The gang members are due to be sentenced on Monday. They include: Kevin Steele, 27, of Potternewton Avenue, Leeds; Ralph Steele, 26, of Harehills Park Avenue, Leeds; Randeep Singh Mudhar, 27, of Cambrian Street, Leeds; Gurmal Singh, 22, of Alma House, Brentford, London;

Shea Duane Varley, 27, of Miles Hill Street, Leeds; Richard Varley, 23, of Monkswood Close, Leeds; Preetpal Singh Mallli, 24, of Stainburn Gardens, Leeds; Gurdas Rathore, 22, of Stainbeck Lane, Leeds; Gurjodha Rathore, 25, of Scott Hall Road, Leeds; Ashton Sutton-Barrow, 23, of Royal Park Road, Leeds; Daniel James Franks, 24, of Miles Hill Avenue, Leeds; Aiden Gidman, 24, of Borrowdale Close, Leeds.

Shaun Varley, 24, of Miles Hill Street, Leeds and Alex Simpson, 21, of Potternewton Avenue, Leeds, will be sentenced at a later date.