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Tuesday, 1 November 2011

GANGSTER John Gizzi, jailed for plotting to sell “substantial” quantities of hard drugs

15:28 | ,

John Gizzi

GANGSTER John Gizzi, jailed for plotting to sell “substantial” quantities of hard drugs, has had his prison sentence cut.

The 40-year-old was jailed at Caernarfon Crown Court for 11 years last March after admitting his part in a conspiracy to feed cocaine users in North Wales.

Gizzi, from Rhyl had more recently lived in St George, near Abergele, was described as the “principal organiser” of the plot to transport cocaine from Liverpool to supply dealers in Conwy and Denbighshire.

But yesterday three senior judges, sitting at the Court of Appeal in London, said the sentence was too long and cut it by one year from 11 to 10 years.

for pleading guilty and other mitigation, including family bereavements and good behaviour in prison.

Another gang member, Gregory Gorst, 31, from Brook Avenue, Towyn also had his sentence cut from five years and three months, to four and a half years.

But three other conspirators, sentenced to between four-and-a-half years and six years and eight months, had their appeals rejected.

The gang were caught after officers working on Operation Thunder, a covert surveillance operation on their activities, found cocaine with a street value of £162,000 in a taxi stopped at Queensferry in April last year. Officers also seized more than £70,000 in cash from vehicles used by the gang.

Lord Justice Moore-Bick sitting yesterday, with Mr Justice Irwin and Mrs Justice Thirlwall, said the plot had run from August 2009 until April 2010 and involved criminals in Liverpool supplying drugs to Gizzi’s gang to sell on.

During the police operation, cash totalling £70,500, and one block of compacted cocaine were intercepted. The judge said: “This was, on any view, a conspiracy to supply cocaine in very substantial quantities.

“The total that passed through the conspirators’ hands cannot, of course, be known, but the judge was entitled to find that it must have been much more than the one block that was actually seized.”

Lawyers for Gizzi argued he should have received a greater reduction in his sentence for pleading guilty and for other personal matters.

And those representing Gorst, said to be a “foot solider” at a much lower level, argued he had been too harshly punished for his relatively minor role.

The judges agreed and cut Gizzi’s sentence to 10 years and Gorst’s to four-and-a-half years, but rejected the three other challenges.

Christian Martin Suckley, 28, of Kinmel Bay, who was said to be a “senior member of the organisation”, had been jailed for six years and eight months.

John Etheridge, 31, of Llys Arthur, Towyn, was jailed for six years for his role as “foot solider”, having driven others to Liverpool on one occasion.

Michael Peter Bennett, 34, of Pen Lan, Towyn, who was jailed for four-and-a-half years, was said to be involved at the “lowest end” of the conspiracy, allowing his premises to be used for preparing drugs for onward supply.

Five other men were jailed for their part in the conspiracy. Karl Evans, 30, of Llys Nant, Towyn, described as Gizzi’s right-hand man in the conspiracy, was jailed for seven and a half years and taxi driver Derek Richards, 50, of Ocean View, Rhyl, was jailed for four and a half years.

Three Liverpool men – Kenneth Cain, 35, David Edward Clarke, 48, and Neil Sutemire – were jailed for between nine years and five years for their part in the conspiracy.

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