Drug gang ringleader is jailed after eight month police probe

THE ringleader of a major drug dealing operation and several of his “foot soldiers” who distributed drugs across Sheffield and Rotherham have been sentenced to a total of more than 50 years in prison.

Police picture of Marcus Gad Binghi Thompson

Marcus Gad Binghi Thompson, who was said by police to be the main operator in the group, was jailed for 19 years, while nine other gang members were given sentences of between nine-and-a-half years and four months at Sheffield Crown Court.

The 35-year-old, from Bowfield Road, in Firth Park, Sheffield, rarely had possession of the Class A and B drugs himself and used sophisticated techniques, as well as regularly changing his mobile phone, in a bid to stay one step ahead of the police.

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As part of an eight-month investigation by South Yorkshire Police’s serious and organised crime unit, he visited a number of addresses in Sheffield and Rotherham, where police later recovered drugs, a gun and ammunition.

The operation also identified his co-defendants, Joseph Thompson, Thomas Carlin, Aaron Martin, Michael Lee, Gary Neil, Reza Kermani, Kaveh Faridi, Michael Parkin and Brinsley Mason, who stood trial alongside him at Sheffield Crown Court.

Senior investigating officer, Detective Inspector Richard Shimwell, said: “This has been a long and complex investigation into the wholesale supply of Class A and B controlled drugs onto the streets of South Yorkshire.

“Those concerned are violent individuals and the recovery of firearms and ammunition only serves to demonstrate the potentially fatal consequences that drug dealing at this level often involves. The streets of South Yorkshire are a safer place as a result of this verdict.”

In May last year, Thompson was seen visiting an address in Wybourn House Road, Sheffield. After he left, police executed a search warrant and discovered a large quantity of crack cocaine.

Two months later police executed a search warrant in Lord Street, Rotherham, and discovered 243 cannabis plants with a potential street value of £24,000 inside the house.

They made further progress on October 2 when they searched an address in School Yard, Whiston, and seized cannabis with a street value of £73,500, as well as £10,000 cash. While the police search was going on, Faridi, 25, of Churchfield Road in Acton, London, arrived at the address with a further £10,000 in cash.

Later that month Thompson was seen visiting the home of Aaron Martin in Herries Road, Sheffield. Officers saw Martin, 22, leave, carrying half a kilo of heroin. At the property, a further half kilo of heroin was found, along with a hand gun and ammunition.

The ten defendants were sentenced after an eight-week trial at Sheffield Crown Court. Thompson was found guilty of conspiracy to possess a firearm and conspiracy to supply heroin. The jury found him not guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine.

He admitted one charge of conspiracy to supply cannabis and was sentenced to a total of 19 years in prison.

Martin admitted a charge of conspiracy to supply heroin and was found guilty of conspiracy to possess a prohibited weapon and ammunition. He was found not guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine but was jailed for nine-and-a-half years.

Other members of the group were sentenced for offences including possession of firearms, conspiracy to supply cannabis and conspiracy to purchase a prohibited weapon.

Carlin, 37, of St John’s Road in Rotherham, was jailed for eight years, while Kermani, 38, of School Yard in Whiston, Rotherham, was given a four-year sentence.

Faridi, 25, was sentenced to four years and Brinsley Shaka Mason, 24, of Wybourn House Road in Sheffield, was jailed for three-and-a-half years.

Mr Shimwell said police, prosecution counsel and the Crown Prosecution Service had worked “tirelessly” on the case. He added: “I would like to thank the jury for their patience and attention demonstrated during the eight weeks of this trial. Their role is often overlooked but should never be underestimated.”