EIGHT men have been sentenced to over 22 years in prison for their roles in an organised crime group that distributed cannabis throughout Suffolk and Norfolk.

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The eight were sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court today (Friday 18 January).

The use of specialist investigative officers from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) started planning their operation in June 2011 after receiving intelligence that the group were believed to be responsible for the distribution of high quality herbal and resinous cannabis through the two counties.

In total, around two tonnes of cannabis was recovered on this operation.

The value of which is estimated between five and six million pounds. The raids carried out and the subsequent seizures made massively disrupted the supply chain of cannabis into the region.

Jonathan Bird aged 38 from Longdell Hill, Norwich pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class B drugs, possession of a weapon and money laundering was sentenced to four years and three months.

Kerr John Smith aged 52 from Lawrence Place, Foxley pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class B drugs and was sentenced to three and half years.

David William Howard aged 38 from Erwarton pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class B drugs and money laundering and was sentenced to seven years.

Ivan Patten aged 25 from Tovells Road, Ipswich pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply class B drugs and was sentenced to six months suspended for two years and 220 hours community work.

Michael John Cookson aged 25 from Hyde in Cheshire pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply class B drugs and was sentenced to two and a half years.

Jonathan Roberts aged 34 from Cowdray Avenue, Colchester pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Supply Class B drugs and was sentenced to three and half years.

Gary Sherman aged 40 from Ipswich Avenue, Sutton, Woodbridge pleaded guilty to money laundering and was sentenced to 14 months.

Robert Anthony Moore, aged 41 from Ingrams Piece in Ardleigh in Essex pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Supply Class B Drugs and possession of a Class A drug and was sentenced to 12 months.

Three other individuals were convicted and sentenced last year for possession with intent to supply offences in connection with this operation. Their sentences ranged from 20 to 36 months imprisonment.

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