Cocaine-peddling East End gang sentenced to 50 years

A drug-dealing gang believed to have made at least �6million from peddling cocaine has been sentenced to a total of 50 years in prison.

The ringleaders, William Forster, 30, who is originally from Bethnal Green, and James Macdonald, 28, each got twelve years for setting up and using a beauty salon in Woodford as a way to launder money made from deals.

The men, along with other accomplices, drove luxury cars and wore designer clothes, paid for by selling the Class A drug.

Det Insp Colin Stephenson, from the Central Task Force, said: “Forster owned an �800,000 penthouse apartment outright and drove luxury vehicles.

“Our investigation has removed a group of young criminals off the streets and ensured a huge amount of cocaine destined for drug users does not get into the system.”

Forster, who had recently moved to Goldsmith House, Brandesbury Square, Chigwell, was the police’s prime target in the operation.

Cops seized 11.5kg of cocaine and �2.5million worth of assets after a series of arrests made between September and December of last year.

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Forster and Macdonald, of Old House Lane, Roydon, were sentenced on Friday July 1 at Snaresbrook Crown Court, along with Dean Macdonald, 25, of Greenwich Way, Waltham Abbey and James Ives, 21, of Tillett Way, Bethnal Green.

Dean Macdonald was jailed for six years and Ives for five.

All the men pleaded guilty to the charges against them.

Two more members of the gang were sentenced earlier this year after pleading guilty at Inner London Crown Court.

James Chew, 24, of The Gables, Fyfield Road, Ongar, Essex got nine years and Matthew Davies, 24, of Wakerley Close, Beckton got two.

Forster’s girlfriend, Amy Rivers, of Barnardo Street, Limehouse has been charged with concealing cash and criminal property through the salon, where she made director.

She pleaded guilty and will be sentenced on July 22.