NOTORIOUS Gloucester gangster Patrick 'PJ' Maguire has been jailed for seven and a half years for masterminding a £200,000 cocaine conspiracy.
The 41-year-old, described by police as the 'controlling mind' in the case, smiled and waved at family members in the packed public gallery at Bristol Court Room yesterday.
Maguire was among six defendants – three from Gloucester and the others from Cheltenham, Birmingham and Worcester – jailed for their part in the drugs conspiracy.
His 48-year-old brother Christopher Maguire, of Tredworth Road, was jailed for six and a half years; 51-year-old Mark Ellis, of Enborne Close, Tuffley, got three and a half years; 43-year-old Mark Clemmens, of Laxton Road, Cheltenham, three and a half years; John Heatherington, 38, of Wheat Mill Close, Worcester, nine years; and 32-year-old Carl Bonfield, of Castle Vale, Birmingham was sentenced to four years. All pleaded guilty apart from Christopher Maguire and Ellis who were convicted at trial.
Prosecuting barrister Simon Burns told of a sophisticated cocaine supply network bringing drugs, thought to be from South America, from the West Midlands to Gloucester for distribution.
PJ Maguire was the ring leader of the gang with others acting as go-betweens and 'warehouse men'.
His honour Judge Geoffrey Mercer QC told defendants: "This was a substantial, organised, processional conspiracy to supply cocaine. The extent of this conspiracy went undoubtedly far beyond the police seizures."
Mr Burns said it was a 'highly sophisticated operation', which undercover police officers from Gloucestershire Constabulary witnessed between January and August 2012.
Mr Burns: "Operation Monitor uncovered a well organised cocaine supply - an established enterprise which continued even after members of the gang were caught - in which consignments of the drug were transported down the M5 for distribution of the streets of Gloucester."
He said PJ Maguire was the ringleader of the sophisticated operation, which involved high purity cocaine.
Two quarter kilo packages were seized by the police on the M5 in January and March 2012, and a further three were seized in Castle Vale, Birmingham at the home address of Bonfield in August of the same year, explained the prosecution barrister. It had a street value of a quarter of a million pounds, he said.
After the sentencing, Detective Constable Gill Ardren said: "Maguire was the ringleader and controlling mind but preferred not to be hands on and used others to do his dirty work for him. We seized cocaine with high impurity and was no doubt due to be bulked and cut for supplying the Gloucestershire area. It could've caused a great deal of harm."