Published: 12:01, 01 September 2015
Seven men and a woman have been jailed for a total of more than 73 years for their involvement in a large-scale drugs conspiracy centred around the Tunbridge Wells area.
Organiser Simon Khalil, who helped mastermind the high purity cocaine operation while on early release from an earlier sentence for drug dealing, was handed a stretch of 12 years and four months.
The longest sentence was imposed on Peter Glisson, 32, who was jailed for 14 years and 11 months - nine years and four months for the drugs conspiracy and five years and seven months consecutive for possession of a pistol, sub-machine gun and ammunition.
Khalil, of School Rise, Tunbridge Wells, and Glisson, of Palmer Avenue, Gravesend, appeared for sentence with Clifton Fritz, 35, Alison Lebbon, 48, Terrence Maloney, 34, Jason Wild, 28, Debbie Hamilton-Smith, 48, taxi driver Karim Zaman, 54, and Thomas Hall, 28.
Fritz, of no fixed address, was sentenced to 11 years, Maloney, of Hawkenbury Mead, Tunbridge Wells, to seven years and eight months, Wild, of The Meadow, Pembury, and Zaman, of Ramslye Road, Tunbridge Wells, to six-and-a-half years, Hamilton-Smith, of Church Street, Edenbridge, to seven years, and Hall, of Pitwood Green, Tadworth, Surrey, to eight-and-a-half years.
Lebbon, of Peacock Farm, Lower Green Road, Rusthall, whose son Brian is yet to be sentenced, walked free with six months imprisonment suspended for two years with supervision, 150 hours unpaid work and a curfew for four months.
Maidstone Crown Court heard police uncovered a wholesale cocaine supply operation during 2013 and last year.
Prosecutor Ian Hope said Khalil worked closely with Brian Lebbon, Maloney Paul Spittles, 45, of The Meadow, Pembury, who has yet to be sentenced, and Eduart Bimaj, who is awaiting extradition.
Part of Khalil’s money laundering activities involved him investing in a tanning shop in Tunbridge Wells.
Mr Hope said the semi-automatic guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition involving Glisson were found in undergrowth in Higham by a member of the public in June 2013.
The weapons, he said, were not linked to any of the others involved in the drugs conspiracy. Brian Lebbon sent his mother to collect £45,000 in cash - the price of a kilo of cocaine.
When Zaman was arrested his taxi had a concealed hide behind the passenger dashboard, the lining of which had traces of cocaine. He delivered the drug to Edenbridge.
Glisson was arrested with a kilo of cocaine having struck a police officer with his car as he tried to escape.
Mr Hope said there was a safe house in Albion Mews, Tunbridge Wells, where cocaine, 800 ecstasy tablets and £7,000 were seized. More cocaine was found at a garage in Sandhurst Park in the town.
“Cocaine was purchased from and distributed to other wholesale dealers over a geographically disparate area,” said Mr Hope.
“Khalil was running a wholesale cocaine supply operation from Tunbridge Wells, buying in cocaine by the kilogram and selling it on in similar quantities.
“The operation was up and running by the summer of 2013 and running through the summer of 2014.”
“You plainly had access to serious weaponry associated with high-end organised crime” - Judge David Griffith-Jones QC
Judge David Griffith-Jones QC told Khalil: “You were the organiser. Without you the conspiracies would not have existed in the form they did.”
Khalil, he said, had a depressing list of previous convictions. In July 2009 he was jailed for nine years for a drugs conspiracy.
He started to offend again while serving the sentence and continued to do so while out on licence. He corrupted others, including his partner Samantha Prescott, 30, who is yet to be sentenced.
The judge told Glisson: “it is clear you were in the business of supplying wholesale quantities of high purity cocaine.
“You plainly had access to serious weaponry associated with high-end organised crime."