Source: The Mirror
A drug lord at the helm of a huge cocaine operation was pictured posing with a gun in a brazen snap before his crimes came to light.
Christopher Jones, 32, has been sentenced to 18-and-a-half years behind bars after admitting 10 drugs and gun offences.
The criminal, formerly known as Ricky Bates, supplied cocaine and other illegal substances in Staffordshire, and his arrest led to five other men being convicted.
His crimes included conspiracy to supply cocaine, possession of two firearms and conspiracy to import a gun from Albania – were racked up over a four year period.
During the police investigation – leading to his eventual conviction and sentencing – detectives worked to piece together evidence from phone records, searches and interviews.
Officers also discovered several pictures of Jones on holiday, enjoying first class travel around the world, Birmingham Live reports .
Key members of his drugs empire – Ramandeep Singh, described as Jones’s ‘relief manager’ and street dealers Harpreet Johal, Jamie Sinclair, Colin Brown and Alex Wootton all from Wolverhampton have also been convicted on drugs offences.
All four were jailed at Stafford Crown Court on September 30.
Officers seized two firearms while searching Jones’s property back in December 2015 – a sawn off shotgun and a double-barrelled shotgun, that as stolen during a 2014 burglary at a farm in Cocknage, near Stoke-on-Trent.
They also found 1.33kg of amphetamine, 22.9kg of benzocaine (a recognised cocaine cutting agent), 8.775 litres of gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), and digital scales containing traces of cocaine.
A 25kg package of benzocaine being shipped to Jones from Hong Kong was also intercepted by the UK Border Force at Coventry Airport.
In October 2017, Jones was arrested again and police recovered cocaine, bundles of cash and digital scales from his property and car.
Detective Sergeant James Byrne, of Staffordshire Police, said: “Christopher Jones will be known to most people in south Staffordshire as Ricky Bates.
“He ran a drugs supply operation bringing cocaine and a host of other illegal substances to the streets of south Staffordshire and the West Midlands.
“It is concerning that he was found in possession of two firearms and was involved in a conspiracy to import further ones from Albania.
“We are glad the result of our detectives’ painstaking work in building this complex case is that Jones and his associates are now behind bars.”
Ramandeep Singh, 35, of Stafford Road, Wolverhampton, was sentenced to six years for conspiracy to supply cocaine and five months concurrent for conspiracy to supply gamma-butyrolactone.
Harpreet Johal, 49, was sentenced to five years three months for conspiracy to supply cocaine.
Jamie Sinclair, 38, from Wolverhampton, was sentenced to four years four months for conspiracy to supply cocaine.
Alex Wootton, 22, from Wolverhampton, was sentenced to 20 months for conspiracy to supply cocaine.
Colin Brown, 37, in prison, was sentenced to a further two months added to a four year six month sentence already being served for conspiracy to supply cocaine.