EIGHT men were sent to jail yesterday for their involvement in a drugs

ring which imported and distributed heroin from Turkey.

The drugs were distributed on Merseyside and amounts of cash, believed

to total about #2.5m, were handed over to the ''Turkish connection'' and

transported back to Turkey via Heathrow Airport, Liverpool Crown Court

was told.

A year's observations by Customs officers showed two Turkish

nationals, Yilmaz Kaya and Suleyman Ergun, frequently travelled to

Liverpool from London where they met the two main Merseyside dealers,

John Haase and Paul Bennett.

Huge amounts of cash proceeds in plastic bags were handed over, often

in a Liverpool pub, and this was taken back to Turkey and some of it

used to buy more drugs.

After Customs officers moved in to arrest the defendants, 87kg of

heroin were seized.

Judge David Lynch praised the investigating officers who smashed the

ring and described their operation as ''a major blow in the fight

against this despicable trade''.

He said the courts often dealt with the pitiful wretches who sell

heroin on the streets to feed their own addiction, but added: ''It is

rare that courts deal with somebody so high up the ladder as you are and

it must be marked by a heavy sentence.''

Three Liverpool men -- Haase, 46, of Sunlight Street, Anfield,

Bennett, 31, of Hazlehurst Road, Norris Green, and Edward Croker, 31, of

Tilston Road, Fazakerley -- had all admitted conspiracy to supply


Haase and Bennett were described by the prosecution as the ''prime

movers'' in the Liverpool end of the operation and Croker was ''first


Haase and Bennett were both jailed for 18 years and had just over

#840,000 confiscated each. Croker was jailed for 14 years and had

#110,000 confiscated.

The five Turks involved in the illicit trade were 26-year-old Ergun,

Mehmet Ansen, Yilmaz Kaya, Bulent Onay, and Manuk Ocecki.

Kaya, 29, of no fixed address, described as the most heavily involved,

was jailed for 20 years and had #200,000 confiscated. His proceeds had

been estimated at #1m.

Kaya had pled guilty to conspiracy to import heroin. Ergun, of

Purchase Street, London, who was convicted of conspiracy to smuggle

heroin and conspiracy to supply, was jailed for 14 years.

Bulent Onay, 39, of Magrie Close, Enfield, Middlesex, who admitted two

offences of transferring drugs money out of the country and possessing

36kg of heroin with intent to supply, was sentenced to 14 years.

Mehmet Ansen, 54, of Instanbul, who pled guilty to three offences of

transferring money, was jailed for eight years and Manik Ocecki, of

Redington House, Priory London, was sentenced to four years after

admitting transferring drugs money.