A DRUG dealing gang led by father and son ice cream van operators have been jailed.

The criminal network of eight men distributed cocaine and heroin in Crawley.

A police operation targeted Lubhaia Ram, his son Surinder Kumar and their associates over the supply of Class A drugs in 2017 and 2018.

Following their arrests and a series of trials, prison sentences were handed to the eight defendants in April this year.

The Argus: Lubhaia Ram (left) and his son Surinder Kumar Lubhaia Ram (left) and his son Surinder Kumar

Surinder Kumar, 39, of Imberhorne Lane, East Grinstead, was sentenced to five years, to run consecutively to an eleven year sentence for conspiracy to supply and supplying Class A drugs.

His father Lubhaia Ram, 60, of Lingfield Drive, Crawley, was sentenced to seven years, plus four years on subsequent extended prison licence.

Wayne Mather, 51, of Brighton Road, Crawley, was sentenced to six years and nine months.

Jamie Yardley, 31, of Kennet Close, Crawley, was sentenced to eight years and  three months.

Ferit Dajcaj, 34, of Harrier Rd, London, was sentenced to three years and ten months.

Jordan Lacey, 30, of Sullivan Drive, Crawley, was sentenced to eight years and five months.

Joshua Erikson, 27, of Goffs Park Road, Crawley, was sentenced to seven years and three months.

And Aaron Dolding, 36, of Foxglove Drive, Crawley, was sentenced to four years and six months.

Kumar was identified as a multi-kilo supplier of cocaine, who supplied to Yardley and others in up to half a kilo quantities at a time.

Yardley in turn supplied up to quarter kilo quantities of cocaine at a time to Lacey.

Lacey used Joshua Erikson to break down and bag up the cocaine for onward supply in multi-ounce to half-gram deals, using people including Aaron Dolding as drugs runners to supply customers in Crawley.

Lubhaia Ram, who is the father of Surinder Kumar was a multi-kilo supplier of cocaine and also heroin.

Father and son operated together at times, police said, using money and resources to further their own drug supply businesses. However, they did not use their ice cream vans in any sale or distribution of drugs.

During the investigation police seized cocaine with an estimated street value of up to £112,000, and heroin with an estimated value of £25,000, as well as other drugs and £91,000 cash.

Chief Inspector Shane Baker, District Commander for Crawley and Mid-Sussex, said: "Conspiracies such as this bring nothing but misery and disruption to communities. We continue to disrupt and bring to justice anyone seeking to engage in the distribution of illegal drugs."