Men jailed after force's largest ever heroin seizure
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A significant Aberystwyth drug dealer has been jailed for his part in the possession and supply of heroin worth £170,000, as well as attempting to escape from police custody.
Michael James Price was charged with possessing heroin with intent to supply following a stop search by Dyfed-Powys Police, which resulted in the force’s largest ever heroin seizure.
Officers recovered approximately 1kg of the class A drug – worth an estimated £125,000 in street value – following a stop search in Aberystwyth on May 14.
Price, aged 48, of South Road in Aberystwyth, was already under investigation for being concerned in the supply of heroin worth £45,000 following a warrant in August 2020.
He was stopped by officers after enquiries were made into a car linked to an organised crime gang, which had travelled to Aberystwyth for short periods of time five times in six weeks.
Officers witnessed Price and a man later found to be John James Rooney carrying out an exchange in the castle grounds at around 9am on May 14, 2021. The car was parked nearby.
Detective Sergeant Steve Jones, of the Ceredigion Serious and Organised Crime Team, said: “Price was searched by officers, who found a carrier bag containing 35 smaller plastic bags of heroin in his jacket pocket.
“These drugs had the potential to be split into 12,500 individual street deals.
“The recovery of this quantity of heroin is unprecedented in Dyfed-Powys and would have caused an untold amount of devastation to the community.”
Price, was immediately arrested on suspicion of possessing class A drugs with intent to supply.
John James Rooney, aged 44, of no fixed address, was later located by the Powys Roads Policing Unit, and was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs.
He had £2,325 in cash on his person, which he claimed was made up of wages, despite later claiming to be unemployed.
DS Jones said: “A thorough investigation was carried out into the two men, including drugs analysis, digital and financial enquiries, and DNA testing, which proved both Price and Rooney’s fingerprints were present on a number of the bags of heroin.”
Evidence led to Rooney being charged with supplying heroin, acquiring, using or possessing criminal property – namely £2,325 in cash, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.
He admitted the offence and was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison when he appeared at Swansea Crown Court on Monday, July 12.
For the incident in May, Price was charged with possessing heroin with intent to supply.
He was also charged with being concerned in the supply of heroin in connection with a drug warrant at a home in Aberystwyth in August 2020, where heroin worth £45,000 was located.
Price’s fingerprints were found on a bag containing 28g of heroin, as well as on a vent behind which the drugs were hidden.
He was further charged with attempting to escape lawful custody following an incident which saw him attempt to scale a 10ft high gate in an attempt to flee from custody.
He admitted all offences, and was sentenced to a total of nine-and-a-half years in prison.
Following sentencing, DS Jones said: “We are pleased to see both men put behind bars for their parts in supplying this devastating drug to Aberystwyth.
“Price has been involved in the supply of heroin for a significant period of time, and has two previous convictions for the offence.
“He clearly continues to play a role in supplying class A drugs in Aberystwyth, which no doubt is to maintain his own habit.
“I’m confident he would have continued selling controlled drugs had he not been imprisoned, in order to pay back the debt of losing these drugs.”