40 years for drugs gang

40 years drugs gang Michael O Driscoll
Michael O’Driscoll

Gang of six men sentenced for 40 years over drug offences

A group of six men, headed by 58-year-old Michael O’Driscoll, have been sentenced after a long-term investigation into an organised criminal network.

Detectives launched ‘Operation Ruda’ in May 2015 to tackle an organised crime network (OCN) what was headed by O’Driscoll. It was quickly established that he was linked to the other five defendants. Officers discovered that the OCN was involved in the prolific supply of drugs, firearms offences and large-scale handling of stolen goods from organised burglary and armed robbery.

The men were all sentenced at Kingston Crown Court on Friday, May 26th, having previously pleaded guilty to numerous offences.

Michael O’Driscoll, 58, of New Malden was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to encouraging or assisting in the commission of an offence (introduced another to supply a s1 firearm, namely a 9mm automatic handgun); supplying Class A drugs (MDMA); being concerned in the supply of Class B drugs (ketamine); offering to supply Class A drugs (ecstasy tablets) to another; encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence (planning an armed warehouse robbery); conspiracy to handle stolen goods; attempting to handle stolen goods and transferring criminal property, namely £35,000.

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Robert D’Acosta, 55, of Waltham Cross was jailed for eight years for supplying a Class B drug (ketamine); possession with intent to supply Class A drugs (cocaine); possession with intent to supply Class B drugs (ketamine); possession with intent to supply Class B drugs (cannabis) and possession of criminal property, namely £45,000 cash. David Lee Simmons, 38, of Earlsfield was sentenced to two years and eight months’ imprisonment for manufacturing a prohibited weapon (stun gun); conspiracy to handle stolen goods and attempting to handle stolen goods.

His 62-year-old father, David Terry Simmons was jailed for four years for conspiracy to handle stolen goods; attempting to handle stolen goods and transferring criminal property.

Kevin Edwards-Pritchard, 32, of Croydon was sentenced to three years and eight months’ imprisonment for encouraging or assisting in the commission of an offence (planning an armed warehouse robbery).

Karl Couling, 36, of Feltham was jailed for six years for selling/transferring a prohibited weapon and ammunition (9mm pistol).

Detective Inspector Philip McInerney said: “This operation has had a significant impact on the supply of drugs across the south-east. A fully established organised crime network has been dismantled and these men now face lengthy prison sentences.

“The harm they have done, not only by supplying drugs, but also by providing firearms and committing robberies, is clear for all to see. They are all now facing lengthy prison sentences.

“We remain committed to taking drugs and firearms off the Capital’s streets and will arrest those involved in their supply.”

O’Driscoll ran two businesses – a florist called ‘Flowers in the Wind’ and ‘David Simmons Jewellers’ in the Garratt Lane area of Wandsworth. These commercial premises were used to support his criminality and that of others across the United Kingdom.

By December 2016, officers had gathered extensive intelligence and evidence against the OCN.

On Wednesday, 25 January, more than 200 officers and support staff were deployed to arrest numerous suspects and search 20 addresses across the south-east. A search of the Wandsworth jewellery shop recovered stolen jewellery and £32,000 in cash.

A total of 15 people were arrested for a variety of offences, including conspiracy to supply firearms and drugs, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and the handling of stolen goods on a commercial scale. One person has been informed that no further action will be taken; eight others remain on bail pending further enquiries.

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