A JOHN Gizzi associate who had been on the run for four years has been jailed for nine years after he was branded an organiser in a conspiracy to bring large quantities of cocaine into North Wales from Liverpool.
Francis Cain skipped bail back in 2010 and was not arrested until earlier this year.
Cain, 39, of Cathedral Walk in Liverpool, had been stopped in his van in St Asaph and was found to have £40,000 in cash hidden in the vehicle.
His vehicle had also been stopped at The Aston Hill, Queensferry, when it was driven by his brother, previously jailed, and when £15,000 was seized.
Under-cover work by police officers, which smashed the supply gang, also identified Cain receiving a plastic bag from John Gizzi – branded one of the ring leaders - in the car park of The Plough public house at St Asaph in January of that year.
Observations also showed that a man believed to be Francis Cain had been involved on other occasions, said prosecuting barrister Jayne La Grua.
Large amounts of cocaine were being brought in for distribution in Denbighshire and Conwy areas.
At one stage cocaine with an estimated street value of £162,000 had been recovered.
Judge Niclas Parry said that Cain had admitted his role in what was a major conspiracy to supply cocaine over an eight month period.
“This was the wholesale supply of cocaine from Liverpool into North Wales after which it would have been distributed causing physical harm, and worse, to those addicted.
“The public of North Wales would have suffered by the consequences of the inquisitive crime committed by those addicted to fund their habits so that you could make a significant profit,” he said.
The judge said that the defendant Cain had been responsible for a number of the supplies, tens of thousands of cash had been recovered together with high purity cocaine which showed he was close to the chain of importing the drug into the country.
He was able to evade the police who sought to arrest him.
Cain had been on bail on allegations of money laundering but failed to answer his bail and had been at large for four years.
Judge Parry said that he was entirely satisfied that Cain along with his brother had directed and organised the wholesale supply of class A drugs from Liverpool to North Wales.
“You organised the buying and selling of cocaine on a commercial basis,” he said.
He had substantial links to others in the chain and did it with the expectation of substantial financial gain.
The court heard that Francis Cain had previously been engaged in serious criminal activity, had been jailed for nine years in 2002 for conspiracy to rob, and was therefore on licence at the time of the cocaine conspiracy.
Desmond Lennon, defending, said that he was not the prime mover which he claimed was attributable to Gizzi and claimed that he was less involved than his brother who received a nine year sentence.
But the judge said that had not been accepted by the sentencing judge at the time or the court of appeal which reviewed the sentences.
Mr Lennon said that while his client had been identified on two occasions, the prosecution was silent about him on many occasions.
On other dates, the prosecution simply suggested that it was his client.
Once he had been arrested in possession of a substantial amount of money he effectively dropped out of it and his role was substituted by another conspirator.
“He knew what he was getting involved in.
"He fled in fear and panic after his original arrest in 2010. He remained local to Liverpool, he did not go off anywhere else and was arrested in march of this year, Mr Lennon explained.
John Gizzi received an 11 year sentence reduced to nine on appeal and the gang of conspirators received a total of 66 years in 2010 at Caernarfon crown court – for conspiring to flood North Wales with illegal drugs.
Gizzi, 39, from St George, near Abergele, was said to have a “primary role” in the conspiracy.
The judge said: “It is important that you understand the sentence is not based on your perceived reputation in North Wales but on your culpability.
“You played a primary role to bring significant quantities of drugs into North Wales. You stood to gain most from this enterprise.”
The nine other members of the gang – from Towyn, Rhyl, Kinmel Bay and Liverpool – were jailed at Caernarfon Crown Court for between four-and- a-half and nine years for their part in what Judge Merfyn Hughes QC described as a “significant criminal enterprise”.
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