An organised crime group have been sentenced to 16 years in prison as part of a large-scale drug operation.

Yesterday, Friday, November 17th, four men where sentenced to 16 years in prison for drugs conspiracy at Exeter Crown Court.

Lester Purdy, aged 66, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A controlled drugs and of possession of MDMA (ecstasy) and cannabis back in October.

He was sentenced to seven years and eight months in prison.

Jake Purdy, aged 25, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A controlled drugs.

He was sentenced to three years and four months in prison.

Julian Eslick, aged 46, pleaded guilty to conspiring to supply a Class A controlled drugs and was sentenced to four years in prison.

It was also discovered that over a period starting in February 2019, around £260,000 had been laundered.

Jailed – Lester Purdy, Jake Purdy and Julian Eslick (Trevor Forbes not pictured)

The fourth man to be sentenced was Trevor Forbes, aged 58, who pleaded guilty to money laundering and was sentenced to one year in prison.

A statement posted on the Devon and Cornwall Police website states:

“The police operation was launched in early 2020 into the organised crime group.

“Officers conducted a drug warrant at an address in Ide, Exeter, on Monday 11 May.

“As a result, the four men were arrested and thousands of pounds worth of Class A drugs, cash and firearms were seized.

“Police seized £74,000 in cash at the Exeter Motorway Services and located two kilograms of cocaine buried in woods at Ide with a street value of £200,000.

“Over the following months, police located further lockups which had been used by the gang.”

Since February 2019, around £260,000 had been laundered

Police have confirmed that the total sum of drugs and proceeds well exceed half a million pounds.

Detective Inspector Dave Egan said: “The operation into this large conspiracy to supply drugs was managed by Exeter CID.

“The large pre-planned firearms operation in May led to the arrest of two members of the Purdy family who were in possession of 2kg of Cocaine, around £74,000 cash, 1 x Range Rover, 1 x Jaguar, 2 x deactivated firearms and various other criminality – including the possession of encrypted mobile devices.

“The large-scale operation had a significant impact on the otherwise quiet and safe village of Ide and members of the community have been supportive of the police operation throughout.

“The investigation team have worked tirelessly for over six months since the arrests collating evidence and progressing associated caseloads whilst linking in with the community.

“My thanks and recognition goes out to all involved for this result today. The Investigation demonstrates that even during periods of Covid lockdown, Devon and Cornwall Police will continue to safely investigate serious drugs offences and bring offenders to justice.”

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