AN organised crime group has been jailed for 56 years for supplying over 130 kilos of cocaine across the South West.

The four men, from Bristol and Portishead, were sentenced at Winchester Crown Court on Friday, March 15, following an investigation by the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SWROCU).

Their arrests, which took place in 2020, were made possible thanks to Operation Venetic.

This is the UK's response to Encrochat, an encrypted messaging service that was used by criminals worldwide.

The cocaine that was supplied was valued at £4.5 million.

Luther Takawira, 28, from Portishead and friends James Cox, 34, and Benjamin Fry, 34, who were both from Shirehampton in Bristol, were all convicted by a jury on March 11 of conspiring to supply cocaine.

Takawira was sentenced to 15 years, Cox to 12 years and Fry to 11 years.

Takawira and Cox were also convicted of transferring criminal property.

Kai Williams, 38, from Coombe Dingle in Bristol was sentenced to 18 years after pleading guilty earlier this month to conspiracy to supply 130 kilos of cocaine.

Williams acted as a drugs broker for the crime syndicate. When seized, it was found that his black Mercedes contained a concealed lock knife, jewellery, designer clothing and trainers, a bottle of Cristal Champagne and a holdall containing £4,000 cash. 

Detective inspector Adrian Hawkins, who led the investigation, said: “This organised crime group was dealing in multi kilo quantities of cocaine, with Cox collecting 20 kilos on single trip to Slough and his friend Fry bringing 30 kilos back from West Bromwich on another.

"Those drugs were then delivered onwards across our region – including Portsmouth, Trowbridge, Bristol and Bridgwater - making the group hundreds of thousands of pounds to fund lifestyles that no doubt couldn’t be more different to those of many of the users they supplied.

“This group has caused untold harm to the communities across our region whilst they lived comfortably from the proceeds of those crimes.

"The sentences handed down reflect this and act as a warning that we continue to use all our specialist capabilities to pursue those involved.”

If you have any information about drug dealing in your community, you can contact the Avon and Somerset Police force on 101 or contact Crimestoppers, completely anonymously, on 0800 555 111.