A man, charged in connection to the supply and distribution of a drug 50 times more lethal than morphine, has been sentenced to five years behind bars.
In July last year, Operation Armenia was launched in relation to drug dealing across Barnsley, and in particular fentanyl. What followed was an extensive operation focusing on a block of town centre flats, suspected to be connected to the sale and distribution of drugs.
On Friday 20 July, 38-year-old Gareth Featherstone, of Hopwood Street, Barnsley, was jailed for five years at Sheffield Crown Court, after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to seven counts of possession with intent to supply drugs, including fentanyl, at a previous hearing.
Warrants at flats on Hopwood Street, were first executed in July last year, before three 24 hour surveillance blocks were carried out between July and August, as PC John Crawford explains.
“Following intelligence gathered and information from members of the public, we became aware that flats on Hopwood Street were possibly being used in connection to drug dealing.
“As a result, over the course of two months we carried out a number of warrants which ultimately recovered large quantities of Class A and Class C drugs. These were forensically tested and subsequently found to be fentanyl, mixed primarily with heroin. Other drugs, including crack cocaine, morphine, methadone and temazepam were also found.
“As part of the operation we also worked closely alongside the council to carry out three 24 hour surveillance periods of the flats, during which time over 300 people visited the building, most likely to buy drugs.
“This was a complex investigation, involving a lot of work from key partner agencies, including Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, and I’m pleased that Featherstone has been jailed and we were able to remove these dangerous drugs from the streets of Barnsley.
“The supply, possession, distribution and use of drugs can have life-changing impacts on people and create long-term issues in local communities. Fentanyl itself is 50 times more potent than morphine, meaning even extremely small quantities can prove fatal.
“Our team recovered a substantial amount of this drug, alongside other Class A and C drugs, which after analysis were estimated to be worth around £5,000. Around £7,000 in cash was also recovered, which has been retained by the courts. I’m relieved that these drugs have now been removed from the streets of Barnsley and cannot cause any further harm.
“I’d always encourage anyone with information or concern in relation to the supply or distribution of drugs to either contact police on 101 or speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.”
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