LOCKED UP: Landmark 17-year jail term for drug kingpin – and seven other men jailed too
A CAREER drug criminal has been handed one of the longest prison sentences in the Island’s judicial history – eclipsing that of the jail term given to notorious Merseyside gangster Curtis Warren.
In a landmark sentencing in the Royal Court yesterday, Havre des Pas resident Alan James Smitton, originally from Liverpool, was jailed for a total of 17 years for his role in two major cannabis and heroin enterprises.
A total of £600,000 worth of cannabis was seized and more than £400,000 of heroin – all linked to Smitton – as part of an undercover States police operation codenamed Operation Raven that ran for two months in late 2017. Crown Advocate Matthew Maletroit, prosecuting, said the heroin seizure was one of the largest ever seen in the Island.
Only sentences given to the likes of psychopathic murderer Paul Greenan, who killed nurse Tracy Burns in 2004, axe-murderer Darren McCormick, Damien Rzeszowski, who killed six people including his wife and two children in 2011, and Ian Bartlett for raping and abusing a young girl have been higher in recent times.
Smitton’s co-conspirators and heroin addicts John Banach (49), from Stockport, and Simon Reeves (52), from Jersey, were also jailed for 10½ years and 7½ years respectively.
In a separate conspiracy, five other men, linked to Smitton, were jailed alongside the Liverpudlian criminal for a total of 28 years for their roles in a major cannabis operation worth at least £600,000. Two of the men involved in the cannabis conspiracy were Neil Heskin (39) and John O’Connor (61) who were jailed in the Island alongside Smitton in 2006 for their involvement in another major cannabis inquiry.
Speaking after both sentencings, Acting Chief Inspector Craig Jackson, who overseas the work of the priority crime team which worked on Operation Raven, stressed the importance of tackling drug crime because of its impact on the Island’s most vulnerable people.
And Detective Sergeant Jim McGranahan, who led the operation to catch Smitton and the seven other drug criminals, said Jersey would continue to be a target to major drug gangs across the UK and Europe because of sky-high street prices here. (See tomorrow’s JEP.)
Acting Chief Insp Jackson said: ‘Illegal drugs have a devastating impact on society, with the most vulnerable often suffering disproportionately. The men sentenced today have repeatedly sought to profit from the misery of others. They have acted with a sense of impunity and shown little or no remorse for their actions.
'They considered Jersey a soft target - nothing could be further from the truth.'
SPECIAL REPORT: City drug lords target Jersey and background to Operation Raven in Saturday's JEP