A DRUGS gang leader who ran two massive heroin and cocaine supply lines in Devon and Dorset has been jailed for 12 years.

Darell Daniels set up the first conspiracy within weeks of coming out of jail in June 2022 when he began organising large scale deliveries of class A drugs to Devon.

Police broke up that supply line when they intercepted courier Danielle Evans as she took three kilos of cocaine and one of heroine from Runcorn in Cheshire to her home town of Exmouth.

Daniels responded by setting up an even bigger supply line with a large scale drug supplier from the West Midlands who organised his own couriers who used vehicles which were specially adapted with ingeniously constructed hiding places.

He remained at his base in Bournemouth but arranged for huge quantities to be delivered to his henchman in Plymouth. He used the encrypted app Signal to hide his activities and refused to use a bank account because it was too traceable. 

The drugs were supplied by a Mr Big from the Midlands who he knew only as Eric and the new conspiracy ran for six weeks before Eric’s courier was intercepted carrying 43 kilograms of drugs with a street value of millions.

Police observed Daniels’s dealer in Plymouth taking charge of five kilograms of cocaine and handing over £98,000 cash, which was only part payment because the drugs had a wholesale value of £140,000. 

Daniels was released from a 10 year, eight month jail sentence for identical drug dealing in June 2022 and went back to live with his partner and her parents in Bournemouth. He took a job in a waste management business but returned to drug dealing within two months.

His previous drug line, which sourced drugs from Merseyside had supplied users in towns all over the South West including Totnes and Paignton. 

Daniels, aged 37, of no fixed address, Bournemouth, admitted two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and was jailed for 12 years by Recorder Miss Hannah Willcocks, KC at Exeter Crown Court. 

Bradley Edwards, aged 24, of Silkstone Crescent, Runcorn, admitted being concerned in the supply of heroin and cocaine and was jailed for four years.

Danielle Evans, aged 36, of Pound Lane, Exmouth, admitted possession with intent to supply and was jailed for two years and eight months at an earlier hearing at Gloucester Crown Court.


The judge told Daniels: ‘You set up the second conspiracy deliberately after police disrupted the first. You did so with a significantly different method of operation. You flouted the police’s attempt to stop you committing drug offences.’ 

She said he had played a leading role as an organiser but had not been the ultimate supplier of the drugs or at the very top of the chain.

Mr Tom Bradnock, prosecuting, said the first conspiracy ran from August 2022 until Evans’s arrest at Stroud as she drove South on the M5 on October 7 with four kilos of drugs. 

She had picked them up from Edwards at the Runcorn ski slope and his DNA was found on the wrapping of the heroin. 

Daniels set up the second network using a supplier known as Eric from the Midlands in early 2023 and insisted that he arranged deliveries in a vehicle with a specially constructed hiding place. 

Their courier was arrested after handing over five kilos of cocaine in Plymouth and taking possession of £98,000 cash in return, which police found in a sports bag in the secret compartment. The total amount of drugs carried on the trip was 43 kilos.

The hand-over in Plymouth had been coordinated by Daniels who sent a photo of the cash to his supplier and received an agreed code word which had to be given before the cocaine was delivered. 

Daniels has three previous convictions for drug dealing and had been released from a 128 months sentence in June 2022. 

Mr Archie Manby, for Daniels, said he was pressured by members of a crime group to return to drug dealing to pay off debts incurred when he had previously been arrested and jailed.

He said he had tried to live an honest life with the help of his partner and family but it had not proved possible.

Mr Lionel Greig, for Edwards, said he was only 21 at the time he was drawn into the operation and did so because he had a young family, was in debt, and was desperate for money.

He has changed his life since his arrest, becoming an HGV driver and concentrating on supporting his two-year-old daughter.