John Gizzi capture 'shows no-one is untouchable'
Published: 8th Mar 2011 07:13:11
The jailing of north Wales gangster John Gizzi shows that criminals like him are "not untouchable," says the officer who helped put him behind bars.
North Wales Police Det Ch Insp Gerwyn Lloyd led the operation to trap the man who once boasted he "ran Rhyl".
Gizzi, 39, from St George, Conwy, faces a further police financial inquiry after last week pleading guilty to conspiring to bring cocaine into Wales.
How police caught him and his gang is on BBC Wales' Week In Week Out.
Gizzi was jailed for 11 years last Friday, and nine others from Towyn, Rhyl, Kinmel Bay and Liverpool were imprisoned for between four-and-a-half and nine years.
Det Ch Insp Lloyd tells the programme: "I've got news for them, they're not untouchable, we can touch them and we will catch them."
Gizzi's conviction at Caernarfon Crown Court was the culmination of a 12-month police investigation to gather intelligence, surveillance and forensic evidence.
Police believed he was a threat to Rhyl and communities across the region.
Gizzi was released from prison in March 2009 after serving just over three years of a five-and-a-half year sentence for beating up two homeless men with wooden staves.
A millionaire criminal who had portrayed himself as a legitimate builder and property tycoon, police knew it was almost inevitable he would return to crime.
But allowing one of the most high profile criminals they have dealt with to continue in organised crime was also regarded by some as posing a threat to the force's credibility.
So, following intelligence from the local community, Operation Thunder was launched in the summer of 2009.
It led to officers filming a brief car meeting between Gizzi and accomplice Neil Sutemire in a rural location in December 2009.
Following the meeting - which lasted just seconds - officers stopped the driver Gizzi had met.
Sutemire had £29,000 in a carrier bag and was arrested under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
His home address in Merseyside was searched and two packages of heroin were found in a kitchen drawer, with a combined street value of £47,500.
The surveillance operation continued, and in March 2010, police helicopter footage showed suspicious activity at a rented industrial unit in Kinmel Bay.
People were spotted on the unit's roof, apparently installing a power supply.
At this point, police were unsure what was going on, but suspected the premises was being used as a cocaine processing plant, where, among other things, the drug would be "bulked up" before being sold on.
Later, arrests were made and the unit was found to contain a cannabis factory with "several hundred plants".
A cocaine press was also found, and a caravan alongside the unit contained ingredients used in the mixing process.
On another occasion, police intercepted a taxi driver who had been sent to Liverpool to collect drugs.
They found almost a kilo of cocaine - of 82% purity - with an estimated street value of £50-£55,000.
However, with the average street purity at about 20%, it was estimated the street value would increase to about £162,000 by the time it had been processed (equivalent to 4kg of drugs).
Police decided to arrest Gizzi, but he had been tipped off and fled. He was found days later in Lancashire.
Police believe he was trying to leave the country and knew "the game was up".
"There is no doubt Gizzi was the head of this organised crime group," one senior detective said.
One other offender is still wanted in connection with the case.
The gang's drugs were destined for distribution across north Wales.
According to North Wales Police, Gizzi still owes money under the Proceeds of Crime Act following his last convictions.
Police are also seeking a Serious Crime Prevention Order on Gizzi and two others.
This could give police powers to impose conditions which might include not associating with known others, restricting vehicles which can be used, and placing restrictions on the number of mobile devices an individual can use.
Week In Week Out is on BBC One Wales at 2235 GMT on Tuesday 8 March.
At 21:03:52 in SportManchester United boss David Moyes says the club are "rebuilding" after a 2-0 Premier League defeat to Everton.
At 20:43:25 in HeadlinesA Kuwaiti judge has ordered the temporary closure of two newspapers for breaking a news blackout about an alleged coup plot.
At 20:14:56 in SportEverton manager Roberto Martinez paid tribute to his side after they defeated Manchester United for the second time this season to keep alive hopes of a Premier League top-four finish.
At 19:53:59 in EnglandA public funeral service for author Sue Townsend, who died earlier this month aged 68, is to be held in her home city of Leicester.
At 19:51:22 in HeadlinesIndia's cricket board has appointed a three-member investigative panel to look into allegations of corruption in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
At 19:38:18 in EnglandA Buckinghamshire inn has held a party to mark the 100th birthday of a barmaid who still works three shifts a week.
At 19:19:20 in SportBritain's Steph Slater set a new 100m butterfly world record as she continued to dominate at the British Para-Swimming International meet in Glasgow.
At 19:15:56 in SportMichelle Wie won her third LPGA Tour title and her first in over three years with victory in the Lotte Championship.
At 19:06:32 in SportBritain's Olympic dressage champion Charlotte Dujardin followed Saturday's Grand Prix win with victory in the World Cup final in Lyon on Sunday.
At 19:01:28 in EntertainmentScottish singer-songwriter Paolo Nutini has scored the fastest-selling artist album of the year so far.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2011. John Gizzi capture 'shows no-one is untouchable' [Online] (Updated 8th Mar 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/136239/John-Gizzi-capture-shows-no-one-is-untouchable [Accessed 20th Apr 2014]
News In Other Categories
Manchester United boss David Moyes says the club are "rebuilding" after a 2-0 Premier League defeat to Everton.
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
A Kuwaiti judge has ordered the temporary closure of two newspapers for breaking a news blackout about an alleged coup plot.
A motorcyclist who was seriously injured when his machine collided with a 4x4 towing a trailer carrying an inflatable boat has died, said police.
A public funeral service for author Sue Townsend, who died earlier this month aged 68, is to be held in her home city of Leicester.
Ministers are being urged to end restrictions that prevent many garden centres in England and Wales from opening on Easter Sunday.