Pair who hid murderer are among trio jailed for running drug syndicate
- Credit: Suffolk Constabulary/Essex Police
Three men have been jailed for a total of almost 11 years for running a drugs supply line into Ipswich and Colchester.
Benjamin Gosbell, Arjun Jadeja and Joshua Walpole were sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court on Wednesday for being part of the drugs line known interchangeably as 'Rico and Frank/Rico and Carlos'.
Gosbell and Jadeja had already both received 30-month sentences for assisting murderer Kieran Hayward to hide out after stabbing drug user Daniel Saunders to death in an Ipswich alleyway off Turin Street in December 2018.
The court heard how police seized about £11,000 of drugs and £7,340 of cash in searches of vehicles and addresses linked to the line before Mr Saunders' death.
They included Walpole's address and 'cuckooed' flats in Finbars Walk, Ipswich, and Brook Street, Colchester, where his and Jadeja's fingerprints were found on a cardboard box used to cut drugs.
All three admitted conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin, between September 14, 2018 and January 3, 2019, at earlier hearings.
Prosecutor Matthew Sorel-Cameron described Gosbell, Jadeja and Walpole as "highly organised" conspirators, able to exert pressure on individuals and take over properties to use as bases to deal drugs.
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Since being in prison, Gosbell, 23, formerly of Highwoods, Colchester, was said to have grown to a position of responsibility and had begun working with recovering drug addicts.
Steven Dyble, representing Jadeja, said the now 20-year-old was just 17 at the time and was already serving a "crushingly long" 62-month sentence for assisting Mr Saunders' killer and committing a number of other offences, including drug-driving, dangerous driving, and possession with intent to supply MDMA and cannabis.
Meanwhile, 25-year-old Walpole was said to have a criminal record free of any drug offending before or after the period covered by the conspiracy, in which he became involved against a background of addiction, debt and loneliness.
Judge Martyn Levett described the syndicate as a "very well oiled machine" that operated across two counties and gained a foothold in two towns.
Gosbell was jailed for a further 33 months, while Jadeja, who also admitted conspiracy to supply 149 grammes of cannabis found in a white Transit van during the series of raids, was handed a 33-month concurrent sentence.
Walpole, of Orchard Way, in Chigwell, who also admitted possession with intent to supply cocaine and cannabis after being found with a backpack full of drugs in a taxi in Tower Hamlets on February 15, 2019, was jailed for 63 months.
A fourth defendant, Sophie Manktelow, also appeared in court to admit breaching a suspended sentence imposed for being concerned in the supply of heroin and crack cocaine, found during a raid of her cuckooed flat in Southway, Colchester, on November 7, 2018.
The 27-year-old, of Wych Elm, Harlow, breached the 16-month sentence, suspended by 18 months in July 2020, by missing probation appointments this April and October.
Judge Levett extended the operational period of the sentence by three months.