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Drug gang that was relative’

PUBLISHED: 13:19 10 December 2009 | UPDATED: 14:48 24 August 2010

A JEWEL encrusted grin was wiped from the face of a heroin and crack cocaine dealer after he and his family were jailed for a total of 37 years. Simon Burte, 32, who was known for the bling in his teeth, was left shell-shocked after he, his brother Nev

A JEWEL encrusted grin was wiped from the face of a heroin and crack cocaine dealer after he and his family were jailed for a total of 37 years.

Simon Burte, 32, who was known for the 'bling' in his teeth, was left shell-shocked after he, his brother Neverton Burte, 31, half-brothers Richard Rhoden, 23 and Levi Burte, 23, mother Maria Rhoden, 49, and father Melverton Burte, 48, were handed down the sentences.

While in the dock the group made jokes with friends in the public gallery and danced as Judge Nic Madge deliberated in his quarters over the length of their sentences.

Heads fell in hands, faces drained of blood and gasps echoed around the courtroom as the lengthy jail terms were handed down upon the judge's return.

One woman collapsed and had to be helped out upon hearing Simon would face seven years, Neverton 10 years, Richard five years four months, Levi six years, Maria four years and Melverton five years.

The family, all of whom were either found or pleaded guilty to various drug charges at Harrow Crown Court, were nabbed by Brent Police after a year of surveillance and evidence gathering.

Heroin worth more than £42,000, crack cocaine worth more than £21,000, skunk cannabis worth more than £1,500 and around £53,000 in cash was recovered from three properties in Winchelsea Road, Stonebridge, Tubbs Road, Harlesden, and Fortune Gate Road, Harlesden, during the raid in April this year.

When police smashed their way in Levi threw a quantity of crack over the balcony of the main base at Winchelsea Road, which was later recovered and the forensics evidence was used against him.

Crack cocaine, heroin and a loaded 1933 Enfield revolver with 53 rounds of ammunition were recovered from a communal area.

No one was convicted of a firearms offence as no forensic link could be found.

Just under a kilo of heroin, ready to sell and worth £42,735, was then discovered at Maria's house in Tubbs Road, above a cupboard in a room where her 14-year-old son, who was not involved, slept. Fingerprints on drugs recovered there and at Fortune Gate Road linked Simon, Levi and Richard to them and the drugs from Winchelsea Road, were also linked to them after scientists determined they were of the same purity or used the same amount of the same cutting agent.

Safes in each of the homes had various amounts of cash in, ranging from mere hundreds to around £35,000.

The business, a 'middle-tier' drug enterprise which saw them sell to street dealers, was so profitable that Simon threw extravagant parties, handed out t-shirts from his clothing business and bought a BMW M3 for £26,000.

He also managed to buy a house in Harrow, by lying for a mortgage and then renting it out for £800 a month.

Neverton, who was on a cruise in the Caribbean and was about to open a barbershop in Wembley, when the raid took place, bought a high performance Astra for £17,250 and Levi a BMW for £3,000.

When buying the cars, all of them turned up with the total in cash and handed it over to the seller in plastic bags.

Judge Nic Madge said: "This was an organised and professional business in which large quantities of drugs were sold in and around the Stonebridge Estate.

"Any judge who has sat at this court for any length of time knows from experience that Stonebridge is an estate where drug dealing has in the past been widespread, and where it has been associated with gangs and violence."

Det Con Tania Fyffe said: "I am delighted with this result which could not have been achieved without the support of the whole organisation.

"We are now going to go after their assets from their crime. If you profit from crime we will profit from you."

alex.wellman@archant.co.uk


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